Law Schools Boost Enrollment With Price Cuts

Law schools, hoping to boost enrollment amid a tough time for young lawyers, are turning to an old retail industry tactic: price cutting.

According to a report this morning in The Wall Street Journal, three law schools that cut tuition for some or all students are on pace to boost their first-year class sizes by 22 percent to 52 percent this fall compared with last year.

Among the schools that have cut prices for tuition: The University of Iowa College of Law,  Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania State University's Dickinson School of Law, the Journal report said.

Other law schools are turning to grant programs to cut the cost of tuition. These efforts are notable, the Journal report said, because law schools have experienced a broad drop in enrollment figures in recent years due to a grim legal job market following the financial crisis and recession.

As the Journal article states: "Law-school enrollment spiked during the economic downturn, at the same time as the pool of available jobs for newly minted lawyers was contracting due to slack demand and other shifts, including the transfer of some legal work from law firms to outsourcers who could do it more cheaply."

The effort by law schools is yet another example of the ongoing tension among higher education institutions and corporations. As universities grapple with providing students with the right skills and experiences to prepare them for the workforce, companies have reacted by being extra selective in hiring, saying that universities and colleges are not providing the skills they demand.

As the Journal reported earlier this summer, entry-level jobs are becoming a thing of the past, as companies increasingly expect first-year hires to come in and contribute right away, in turn delegating former entry-level tasks to interns.