For a while now, Above the Law has been telling you that law school is increasingly popular. Whether it’s the whole end-of-the-rule-of-law thing or folks are inspired by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or that academia is a place to wait out the COVID economic downturn, we are in the midst of the most competitive law school application cycle in a good long while. Some law schools responded to the glut of quality applications with strict deposit guidelines, while other took a more wait-and-see approach.
Well, the result is that multiple elite law schools are overenrolled. According to a Reddit thread, Boston College has already fessed up to incoming students about their swollen class — we are talking by 100+ students. And they’re sounding the alarm bell that this could have a big impact on post-graduation job prospects.
The reported language BC sent to incoming students is as follows:
“Although our entering class is typically about 250 students, we currently have over 415 deposits. This is much too large for our capacity. We also pride ourselves in preparing every graduate to enter the legal job market in the best possible position to succeed, fully supported with the faculty mentoring and career opportunities and advising they need. A class this large causes us to be concerned about post-grad job placement.”
This is obviously a major concern. Dealing with cramped classrooms or a less-than ideal professor-to-student ratio is one thing, but the number of available jobs isn’t going to magically balloon, so perhaps they’re right to try and “scare” folks into not coming in the fall.
When reached for comment, a representative of BC Law provided the following:
Due to the significant rise in applications and interest in enrollment, BC Law experienced a 51% increase in deposits this admissions cycle, joining many highly selective law schools nationwide that are addressing this issue. While we anticipate some “melt” during the summer months, we have offered deferrals to admitted students in order to right-size our class for next year.
Now that the genie is out of the bottle, we’re hearing about overenrollment at other schools. University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School is also reportedly overenrolled — this time to the tune of ~50 students. As a result, the law school is extending the deferral deadline (a copy of the school’s email to the class of 2024 is available here).
All of which begs the question — are there other law schools facing similar overenrollment? It’s hard to imagine that only these two institutions are feeling the sting of the broader industry trends. So, we want to know — what other law schools are overextended when it comes to the incoming class of 2024? You can email us or text us (646-820-8477).
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).