Archive for Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kansas University Law School applications drop 23 percent

June 7, 2011


As Kansas University’s School of Law deals with a national slump in the legal job market, admission applications to the school have fallen sharply.

And KU students and recent graduates are expanding their job searches.

This year, the school received about 850 applications, which is down from about 1,100 the year before, a nearly 23-percent drop.

“This trend of double-digit drops in applications, nearly every school in the country is experiencing this,” said Stephen Mazza, dean of KU’s law school.

KU’s drop-off is still well above the national average, which was around 12 percent to 13 percent in February, but has probably increased since then, Mazza said.

“What has happened is the game has gotten much more competitive for getting applications and retaining students,” he said.

KU will be stepping up its own game. After the law school’s director of admissions left for a new job at the University of Connecticut, KU will be adding not just a new director, but also two new positions — an assistant director and a seasonal recruiter — in the admissions office, Mazza said.

Sparkle Ellison, who will be a third-year law student this fall, said she’s not as concerned about landing a job after her schooling because she’s looking to enter a specialized field. She said she’s not surprised to see the drop-off in applications this year.

“With the job market, it’s easier to keep whatever job you have than go back to law school,” she said.

Ellison said she has advanced degrees in science (including a chemistry doctorate) and is considering patent law. She keeps up on the market in her field by talking with professors, reading patent-specific blogs and by word of mouth.

Todd Rogers, assistant law dean for career services at KU, said he’s seen more students applying for positions that prefer a law degree, rather than those that require bar passage.

KU reported 62 percent of 2009 law graduates whose employment status was known were working in a bar-required position nine months after graduation. That same statistic fell to 59 percent for the class of 2010.

Meanwhile, 9.2 percent of that same pool of students were working in J.D. preferred jobs in 2009, rising to 10.7 percent in 2010.

Those jobs often pay similar to a mid-size law firm, said Rogers, who wrote a blog post for the law school on the topic. Examples of institutions offering “J.D. preferred” that 2010 KU law graduates accepted include NCAA member institutions, federal agencies and the World Bank.

“People are much more open to it now, and I think that’s mostly out of necessity,” Rogers said.


ahyland 6 years, 7 months ago

Good question. While I don't have that exact information right off the top of my head, for comparison's sake, the KU law graduating class of 2010 had 168 people.

Andy Hyland KU Reporter

Jillian Andrews 6 years, 7 months ago

"What do you call 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?"

"A good start...."

SnakeFist 6 years, 7 months ago

Until you need one.

Attorneys are like cops and dentists: Nobody likes them until something goes wrong, and then you can't get ahold of one fast enough.

jgaznative 6 years, 7 months ago

The loss of tribal law expert Stacey Leeds to Arkansas is huge, not just to the law school but to all of KU. Why just a brief mention in the LJWorld about that? Now KU only has a handful of faculty with expertise on indigenous histories and cultures and only half of those actually are Indians. KU cannot lose highly qualified faculty and still expect to have quality programs. Now one of the senior indigenous faculty members who is integral to more than one program is gone--way to go KU!

del888 6 years, 7 months ago

It would be interesting to know how much tuition increased over this same period. Did a spike in tuition cause the low amount of applications?

love2fish_ks 6 years, 7 months ago

This is a good thing the enrollment is dropping for lawyers. The USA graduates 9 lawyers for every engineer. South Korea, China, and India graduate 15 engineers for every lawyer. Hmmmmmm.


mrjcg2 6 years, 7 months ago

this is natural, predictable and long overdue - the market will only support so many in one profession - ther are too many lawyers being turned out each year. Any figires available on how Washburn is doing?

raiderssb 6 years, 7 months ago

Obviously, there is a total lack of knowledge by some, of the newer, and quite important, areas of law emphasis which are on the horizon (i.e. Tribal Law, Environmental Law) but unfortunately KU has not kept pace with other institutions - both in recruiting faculty, and students, particularly those who represent minorities. KU has a complete void in understanding this issue and also paying a competitive salary. They no longer have any minority faculty (loss of Stacey Leeds just the newest) and certainly cannot compete for the best and the brightest minority students when there are no faculty members that represent minorities. As the parent of one of the "few" minority students at KU Law, I can honestly say that the alienation factor is astounding. When you cannot relate to any of your faculty that is very difficult. If you don't understand that, you are a fool. There are actually a few students at KU who are NOT going in to corporate law - what a surprise! There are students who care about minority populations and the environment - of course, many times these disciplines are not mutually exclusive. My child is a very proud third generation JAYHAWK but has been very disappointed with the experience at the Law School.

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 7 months ago

Are you serious? There is a very large percentage of minority students at KU Law. You don't know what you are talking about.

Sigmund 6 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

@startsforarmadillos; I didn't see any comments on my screen before I posted. You got it right.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.