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Friday, October 10, 2014

The First Law School Casualty of the Lawyer Glut

     The Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley School of Law publicly announced that it intends to shut down its campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the end of 2014…The announcement makes it the first law school to close amid a severe downturn in applications and enrollment at the nations's approximately 200 law schools…

     Long a major avenue for young Americans aspiring to the upper middle class or seasoned adults seeking a career change, law school has been hit by a crisis that has sent application and matriculation numbers into free fall. The largest factor is a saturation of the legal field, as the country's 204 ABA-accredited law schools produce far more JDs than there are legal jobs open to accept them. Rapidly rising tuition rates and relatively stagnant earnings for lawyers have played a role as well.

     Law school matriculations have declined nationwide (falling from over 50,000 to under 40,000), but Cooley's fall has been exceptionally dramatic. In 2010 the school enrolled 1583 first-year students at its three campuses; by the fall of 2013 that number cratered all the way to 582. Since Cooley relies primarily on tuition dollars to stay open, its shrinking body has wreaked havoc on school finances….

Blake Neff, "Cooley Becomes First Casualty of Law School Crisis," The Daily Caller, October 7, 2014 

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