Seniors looking to law school post-graduation

  • Applications to law school are increasing.
  • Marquette Law School applications decreased slightly, but are increasing over the long term.
  • Some people blame the recession for the increase in applications.

Next year many graduating seniors across the nation will go right back to school: law school.

The Law School Admission Council stated in a press release that the number of students applying to law school has increased by only 1.8 percent. Many schools are reporting much greater numbers of applications, suggesting that those students who are trying to get into law school are applying to more places than usual.

One example is Washington and Lee University, which reported a 29 percent increase in applications for the 2009-'10 year. However, even more moderate increases than this are the exception rather than the norm.

Marquette applications actually dropped slightly, said Sean Reilly, associate dean of admissions at the Law School. Since this time last year, applications to the Law School dropped 6 percent.

But, applications jumped 21 percent last year in comparison to 2007, he said.

The Law School has no plans to alter its enrollment size because of this demand.

"We do not anticipate that the Law School will enroll a larger entering class than usual…about 175 full-time first-year students and about 40 part-time first-year students," Reilly said.

Stephanie Nikolay, director of recruitment at the Law School, suggested two reasons for the increase in applications.

"The implication when the national applicant pool shows no significant increase while some schools post dramatic increases in applications can be twofold: applicants may be applying to more schools, and some law schools are experiencing a decline in the applicant pool," Nikolay said in an e-mail.

Sarah Biermann, a senior in the College of Communication who will be attending Marquette Law School in the fall, said she did not make her decision because of the recession, but she is grateful that she got accepted now regardless.

"I can't even imagine looking for a job right now," Biermann said.

Biermann, a public relations major, became interested in going to law school two years ago, and decided to apply to Marquette because of its sports law program.

Originally, she did not plan on attending graduate school.

"It's kind of interesting," Biermann said. "Friends, a few years ago, would talk about grad school; they'd tell the one kid going to grad school, 'Oh, well, I don't know if I could handle all that schoolwork.'"

Biermann's perspective has now changed.

"Now it seems like, with the recession and all, my friends are the ones saying, 'Lucky you, you're going to grad school and you get all that work,' because it's hard to find jobs right now," Biermann said.

Biermann offered advice for students thinking of going into law school from alternate disciplines.

"Make sure it's something you really want to do versus maybe going because of something like a recession," Biermann said. "If you start a grad program and it's not for you, then I feel like you've almost made yourself worse off."