Another year, another data dump. December 15th is the annual reporting day for ABA 509 Disclosures for all ABA approved law schools. These are required public disclosures that law schools must make as part of their ABA accreditation. As soon as the ABA started releasing the data, I began to compile it and release reports at Associate’s Mind. Last year the report was up at LawyerSmack, but back home this year.

Warning: before you continue, this post includes huge images and graphs. If you’re on mobile, you’re probably better off waiting until you reach a desktop.

2014:

2015: 2015 ABA 509 Disclosures: Fifty Shades Of Grey

2016: ABA 509 Disclosures For All Law Schools 2016

2017: Law Schools ABA 509 Disclosures 2017 (Stats + Graphs)

Before we begin, here is the current 2018 data for all law schools sorted alphabetically (huge image file) if you want to jump to your school easily.

2011 To 2017 Changes

Law school enrollment continues to be significantly down since reporting began.

Click for huge version.

Total matriculant change from 2011 to 2018: -17.9%.

Downward trends

  • 3 law schools are now dead: Charlotte, Valparaiso, & Whittier. I’d give good odds that Arizona Summit and Florida Coastal will soon follow.
  • 155 law schools decreased in matriculants from 2011 to 2017.
  • 11 schools had matriculants decrease by over 50% from 2011 to 2017.
  • 113 law schools had a double digit percentage decrease in matriculants since 2011.
  • Largest decrease: Arizona Summit at -96.2%
  • Runner-up decrease: Florida Coastal at -91.1%

Top ten largest percentage decreases from 2011 to 2018

ARIZONA SUMMIT LAW SCHOOL

-96.2%

FLORIDA COASTAL SCHOOL OF LAW

-91.1%

THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW

-86.6%

PONTIFICAL CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF P.R.

-68.4%

APPALACHIAN SCHOOL OF LAW

-65.8%

ATLANTA’S JOHN MARSHALL LAW SHOOL

-59.1%

OHIO NORTHERN UNIVERSITY

-54.5%

WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY (COOLEY)

-53.4%

FAULKNER UNIVERSITY

-52.4%

Upward trends

  • 42 schools had no change or increased matriculants from 2011 to 2018.
  • 21 schools had a double digit percentage increase in matriculants.
  • Largest increase: Lincoln Memorial at 167.6%
  • Runner-up increase: UC Irvine at 157.3%

Top ten largest percentage increases from 2011 to 2018

CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK

21.6%

WYOMING, UNIVERSITY OF

23.2%

CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY, UNIVERSITY OF

23.2%

VERMONT LAW SCHOOL

28.5%

PENNSYLVANIA STATE – DICKINSON LAW

38.2%

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

62.5%

UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE

72.7%

MITCHELL|HAMLINE

85.9%

CALIFORNIA-IRVINE, UNIVERSITY OF

157.3%

LINCOLN MEMORIAL

167.6%

 

2017 To 2018 Changes

But looking year-to-year, things look much better.

Downward trends

  • 83 schools decreased in matriculants from 2017 to 2018.
  • 3 law schools had matriculants decrease by over 50% from 2017 to 2018: Thomas Jefferson, Arizona Summit, & Atlanta’s John Marshall.
  • 12 schools had matriculants decrease by over 20% from 2016 to 2017.
  • Largest decrease: Thomas Jefferson at -75.5%
  • Runner-up decrease:Arizona Summit at -65.3%

Top ten largest percentage decreases from 2017 to 2018

THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW

-75.52%

ARIZONA SUMMIT LAW SCHOOL

-65.31%

ATLANTA’S JOHN MARSHALL LAW SCHOOL

-50.00%

FLORIDA COASTAL SCHOOL OF LAW

-43.40%

NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL UNIVERSITY

-37.95%

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY-CARBONDALE

-33.33%

APPALACHIAN SCHOOL OF LAW

-31.51%

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

-31.18%

MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY, UNIVERSITY OF

-26.23%

PONTIFICAL CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF P.R.

-23.20%

Upward trends

  • 118 law schools had no change or increased matriculants from 2016 to 2017(Georgetown, Seattle University, Stanford, &Texas A&M)
  • 51 schools had a double digit percentage increase in matriculants
  • Largest increase: Wisconsin at 82.1%
  • Runner-up increase: UNLV at 49.5%

Top ten largest percentage increases from 2017 to 2018

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

31.88%

KENTUCKY, UNIVERSITY OF

33.63%

CALIFORNIA-DAVIS, UNIVERSITY OF

36.42%

MISSOURI, UNIVERSITY OF

38.04%

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

38.57%

CINCINNATI, UNIVERSITY OF

41.67%

CALIFORNIA-IRVINE, UNIVERSITY OF

44.03%

ARIZONA, UNIVERSITY OF

46.25%

UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA – LAS VEGAS

49.52%

WISCONSIN, UNIVERSITY OF

82.12%

 

T14+1

How are the elite stacking up?

Closing Thoughts

The “Trump bump” has indeed had an impact on law schools. For the first time in years, there is significant growth in law school enrollment. We’re not heading back to the “glory days” of the past (nor should we), but it does look like law schools have finished bottoming out. I expect enrollment will continue to hover around this area for awhile. Modest growth, but I don’t anticipate law school enrollment to crack 40,000 students again for awhile.

 

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