This question is based on a recent study showing that in Fall 2014 enrollment in law schools has reached a 27-year low!
Is this decline in law school enrollment a harbinger of the US facing a shortage of lawyers at some point in the future?
And, if we do face a shortage, before you start thinking about all of the lawyer jokes that you may have heard through the years like:
Q: What’s the difference between a lawyer and a leech?
A: After you die, a leech stops sucking your blood.
or Q: What do you call a lawyer gone bad.
would this shortage create problems for an economy that is trying to grow?
From the American Bar Association on December 16th, ‘The American Bar Association today released national figures for first-year and total J.D. enrollment for the fall of 2014.
The 204 ABA-approved law schools reported total J.D. enrollment (full-time and part-time students) of 119,775. This is a decrease of 8,935 students (6.9 percent) from 2013 and a 17.5 percent decrease from the historic high total J.D. enrollment in 2010. The 2014 total enrollment is the lowest since 1987, when there were 175 ABA-approved law schools.‘
So if a trying job market for lawyers coupled with the prospect of going into debt to earn the degree in the first place is putting prospective students off, will a shortage be…
A) No problem at all as I think there is a glut now and any shortage of new lawyers will be absorbed by the current excess,
B) Potentially a problem depending on which specialties of the law are facing the shortage,
C) In the long run supply and demand will solve any potential problem because if a shortage does occur it will at some point drive enrollment in law schools higher,
D) I’m not really sure,
E) None of the above. I think…
If you have any thoughts on the subject please leave them in the comments below.
Michael Haltman, President of Hallmark Abstract Service, New York.
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