The University of Georgia School of Law is experiencing less enrollment than it did five years ago.
In the last five years, law school enrollment nationwide has been in decline. According to a report from Public Broadcasting Atlanta, all five law schools in Georgia have fewer students enrolled this semester than in the fall of 2011.
“Yes, nationally there was a drop in applicants to law school,” said Gregory Roseboro, executive director of admissions and diversity programs at UGA Law School. “It’s beginning to change now. Last year applicants were slightly up, but it’s nowhere near where it was, let’s say five or six years ago.”
Madison Turner, of Suwanee, who graduated from UGA in May with a double major in political science and criminal justice, went through the application process for the University of Georgia School of Law and several other law schools. Turner said throughout the application process, the decrease in enrollment in law schools nationwide was brought up multiple times.
“Around the recession, students were graduating and couldn’t get jobs as attorneys. They were graduating and trying to pay off student loans and couldn’t,” Roseboro said. “So it’s kind of a trickle-down effect, unless people are applying. It’s definitely something not specific to Georgia as far as the lower enrollment. That’s definitely something almost every law school has seen.”
Some for-profit law schools, including the Charleston School of Law, have struggled to keep their doors open due to the lower enrollment numbers. The owners of the college announced in 2015 that they might not take a new class of students in the fall, according to a report from The Post and Courier. Although they did end up admitting a new class in the fall of 2016, the owners of the school said in a statement that the school was spending more than was coming in.
However, Roseboro said as of last year, law school applicants were slightly up nationally and the numbers appear to be leveling off.
“At one point in time, we saw a trend that the law firms were not hiring as many as they had, but that’s hopefully beginning to change as well,” he said. “We are beginning to see a little bit of an uptick as opposed to what’s been happening over the past three or four years.”
Roseboro said the UGA School of Law is working to increase recruitment efforts and communicate about the success of the program. However, Turner withdrew her offer from the school and chose to attend the University of Mississippi School of Law instead after a frustrating experience with UGA School of Law Admissions.
“I sent multiple emails that were never returned. I left voicemails to different people in admissions, and those were never returned as well,” Turner said. “Other admissions directors from other SEC schools were calling me and checking in about my process and where I was in my decision making. But I couldn’t even get my home school to respond to my calls and emails.”
“Other admissions directors from other SEC schools were calling me and checking in about my process … But I couldn’t even get my home school to respond to my calls and emails.”
-Madison Turner, UGA alumna
In Georgia, UGA is tied with Georgia State University for the third-largest law class of 2020, behind Emory University and the Atlanta John Marshall Law School. In the SEC, UGA also enrolled the third largest class of 2020, behind the University of Florida College of Law and the University of South Carolina School of Law, according to data from Law School Numbers.
“What we’re doing is increasing our recruitment efforts and continuing to talk about what a great program we have here and doing the best that we can do to enroll a good and quality student body,” Roseboro said.