.Northwestern University School of Law, one of the country's top law schools, said it will reduce the size of its incoming class by about 10%, citing declining applications and a "shakeout" in the market for legal jobs.
The admissions cuts, announced Monday, will leave room for about 20 to 25 fewer students in the class entering the school this fall
Northwestern is widely viewed as a "T-14" law school, one of a group of top schools that typically has had no problem placing most graduates into well-paying law-firm jobs.
Mr. Rodriguez said the school "didn't have to" cut class size. Among its other options were keeping its class size the same and admitting less-qualified students. "But we wanted to preserve our very high admissions statistics, and hopefully enable our students to be more successful at finding remunerative jobs," he said.
Indeed, the downsizing trend has been driven largely by a desire to stem a slide down the law-school rankings, said Bill Henderson, a law professor at Indiana University who studies the market for law jobs. "The worry is that if you try to fully subscribe your class, your median admissions statistics will drop and you'll plummet in the rankings," he said. "And then it'll be even harder to attract students."
Mr. Henderson said that other top schools were likely to cut their class sizes as well. "Any school that has the luxury of being able to afford admitting fewer students is going to think hard about it," he said. "Otherwise, it's just too difficult to hang on to those statistics."