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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Hiatt holds informational law school panel

Published: November 18, 2011
Section: News

The Hiatt Career Center sponsored a law school forum Wednesday afternoon in Hassenfeld Conference Center as admissions representatives from more than 25 East Coast law schools discussed the admissions process and the impact of the recession on application rates.

“Penn State has definitely seen a decline in applications,” a representative from their law school said. While unable to prove any direct connection between the state of the economy and application rates, the official said, “There certainly seems to be a causation.” Other schools have also seen similar patters and so have attendance rates at for LSAT prep courses.

At Touro Law School in New York, the beginning of the recession led to a sharp increase in applications, but recently numbers have fallen. In addition to the decline in applications, Touro has seen more applicants going straight to law school rather than entering into the work force first for a few years.

The economy is not the only factor in decreasing applications, according to the Touro Law school representative. The cost of law school has increased greatly and average tuition per year has climbed to between $30,000 and $50,000, according to U.S. News & World Report. During the past two years Touro has made an effort to decrease its class size in order to cover better the financial aid needs of its students, the representative said. The idea is that the smaller the class size, the greater the likelihood of increases in financial aid.

At Brandeis, students have continued to express a strong interest in attending law school.

“While nationally there is a 10 percent decrease in law school applications, we are still seeing roughly the same number of students applying to law school at Brandeis,” Nancy Waggner, Hiatt’s pre-law school adviser said. When asked about what she is doing to prepare students for the harsh financial realities ahead for law school students she said, “We try to make students aware about the costs of law school before they fully commit themselves.”

“We prepare students for the reality of law school but they ultimately choose their future,” Waggner said.