On the Record

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Another law school to close, citing declining enrollment

Once a well-known regional law school, Valparaiso Law School announced this week that it will no longer enroll new students as it plans to close in a few years.

Enrollment at the Indiana school has take a nose dive in recent years, with the current class only having 29 full-time students, compared to 206 just four years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Even after the 2008 economic downturn led to fewer people enrolling in law school and a difficult job market for graduates, Valparaiso thought it was immune from the problems its fellow law schools were facing.

“When it hit us, it came fast,” Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler told the Journal.

The law school, which costs more than $40,000 a year to attend, has been operating at a deficit for several years, applications decreased and the American Bar Association’s accreditation arm censured the school last fall for having lenient admission requirements. In 2013, the school’s incoming class had a median LSAT score of 143. Those standards were brought up this fall with a median LSAT score of 151, leading the ABA to remove the censure this week.
The university said it’s committed to making sure the 237 current law students complete their degrees and will look for an affiliation with another law school and other alternatives for its faculty.

Closer to home, both Maryland law schools have seen a decrease in law school enrollment over the past five to six years. That said, enrollment at both the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and University of Baltimore School of Law have been hovering around 200 students in recent years, after seeing a large drop from 2011 to 2013.

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