Of about 200 law schools nationwide, only a few have seen increases in applications this year, and UF isn’t one of them.
Preliminary numbers for Fall 2013 law school applications are down about 23 percent from Fall 2012, according to the Law School Admission Council.
The UF Levin College of Law received 2,869 applications for Fall 2012, down from 3,201 for Fall 2011, according to the admissions office.
Robert Jerry, dean of UF Law, said the decrease in the job market for new law graduates may have impacted the decline in applications.
Additionally, the rise in tuition and student debt levels are impacting the number of applicants, according to the council.
The current in-state tuition for 30 credit hours at UF Law is about $21,000, up from about $19,000 in 2011-2012. Out-of-state tuition is about $41,000, up from about $38,000 in 2011-2012, according to the admissions office.
Despite these circumstances, Sarah Roddenberry, a 21-year-old UF English senior planning to practice family law, wasn’t discouraged from applying.
“I definitely do believe there’s an overabundance of lawyers,” she said. “But for me, this is what I’m passionate about, and there’s bound to be jobs somewhere.”
Christina Stine, a 22-year-old UF alumna and first-year student at University of Richmond School of Law, is also optimistic about the future.
“I think the real issue is that people aren’t open-minded enough about types of jobs,” she said. “Law school is a great base for leadership training, and tons of lawyers go on to do something other than practicing law.”
Jerry is remaining positive, though he admits changes in the field of law heightened the effect this recession has had on law firms.
“It doesn’t mean the need for new law graduates is going to disappear,” he said. “We still need prosecutors, public defenders and judges, and we will always have a justice system.”