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Who's in the Dead Pool of Law Schools?

"Deadpool" has taken attention away from the real dead pool.

In the comic books, Deadpool is a Marvel character with superhuman abilities. In the Ryan Reynolds version, he is also super-irreverent and deathly funny.

But a real dead pool is a game that involves guessing when someone will die. In the law-school watch, it looks like the pool is filling up.

Biggest Enrollment Declines

Paul Caron, editor of the TaxProf Blog, published a list of law schools with the biggest enrollment declines in first-year students. Because declining enrollment spells imminent failure, the list is a polite version of a dead pool.

With no death march accompaniment, here is the top of the list:

  1. Thomas Jefferson: -76% (59 v. 241)
  2. Arizona Summit: -65% (17 v. 49)
  3. John Marshall (Atlanta): -50% (108 v. 216)
  4. Florida Coastal: -43.% (60 v. 106)
  5. North Carolina Central: -38% (103 v. 166)

Some of the law schools are on financial life support. Some have accreditation problems.

Red Flag Warnings

U.S. News & World Report, known for ranking law schools, recently pointed out some red flags at the lower-ranked schools. It said applicants should:

  • Beware of the unaccredited law schools
  • Watch for declining admission standards
  • Do a cost-benefit analysis

Teacher layoffs, fewer classes, top-tier resignations; these could be red flags. Loss of accreditation; campus closure; bankruptcy; these would be white flags.

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