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Continued: In light of shrinking enrollments, Twin Cities law schools tighten their belts

  • Article by: LYDIA COUTRE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 10, 2013 - 10:05 PM

William Mitchell’s Janus is hopeful that things will start to look up for law schools.

“My own sense is that the numbers prerecession were probably inflated, but that the numbers right now are probably unnaturally low,” he said.

There will be a recovery, Lewis said, but it will be slow.

St. Thomas’ Vischer is operating under the idea that the conditions will persist.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but we are prepared for the long haul that this is the new normal,” he said.

Whatever the future holds for law schools, Busdicker hopes his future holds a job.

“I’ll do whatever I need to do so I can put food on the table and start lowering that debt that follows me everywhere.”

Lydia Coutré • 612-673-4654

  • U.S. law schools

    • In 2004, 100,000 applied to U.S. law schools; this year there are likely to be 54,000, for more than 40,000 spots. Graduates will compete for about 25,000 jobs.

    • Just more than half the class of 2012 has long-term, full-time work requiring a law degree.

    • There is one lawyer for every 265 Americans, more than twice the rate in 1970.

    • Starting lawyers from class of 2012 had median starting salary of $61,245, down 17 percent from 2009.

    • In 2001, average tuition for private law school was $23,000; in 2012 it was $40,500 (public law schools: $8,500 and $23,600).

    • Among private law school graduates, average debt in 2001 was $70,000; in 2011 it was $125,000.

    Bloomberg, New York Times

    Average debt of 2012 law school graduates who borrowed

    William Mitchell College of Law: $116,575

    Hamline University School of Law: $104,647

    University of Minnesota Law School: $100,699

    University of St. Thomas School of Law: $96,659

    Source: U.S. News and World Report

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