Hastings law school judges the job market

University of California Hastings College of the Law will slice enrollment rather than send too many lawyers into an economy with too few jobs.

Kai Ryssdal: For college-bound high school seniors today is decision day -- the deadline at a lot of schools to reserve a spot in next year's freshman class.

It's also the last day to put down a deposit at many law schools across the country, including the University of California Hastings College of the Law. And this year a lot fewer students are handing over that check. The school's cutting enrollment by more than 20 percent because there's not enough demand for lawyers.

Marketplace's Amy Scott reports from the Education Desk at WYPR.


Amy Scott: It’s not every day a college chooses to make less money. Dean Frank Wu says UC Hastings law school could keep on enrolling around 425 students, at more than $40,000 a year.

Frank Wu: But it would be irresponsible. It would mean taking far too many students who would really have a risk of not being able to find a job.

Wu says this fall’s incoming class is around 330 students. Kyle McEntee co-founded the group Law School Transparency to push for more accurate information about the job market. He says Hastings joins a handful of law schools cutting class sizes. With applications falling, it’s either admit fewer students or less qualified ones.

Kyle McEntee: AndI think in the next two years, we’re going to see a lot more schools cutting enrollments, not because they think it’s the right thing to do, but because they have to.

It may not be easy. Most law schools are profit centers for larger institutions, so they’re under a lot of pressure to keep enrollments up.

I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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