Law school has lost its allure. Enrollment at American Bar Association-accredited law schools has plummeted 25 percent since 2010 and several law schools have or soon will close up shop for lack of demand.

Why? It’s a combination of factors including rising tuition, a stagnant job market and the perception that better options exist elsewhere.

So what’s it going to take to lure back would-be lawyers—especially those with the high Law School Admission Test scores that schools covet? (Applicants with LSAT scores of 160 or above are down a whopping 45 percent over the past six years.)

We asked 11 leaders from the legal academy, the bench and law firms to tell us how law schools can make up those recruiting losses and appeal once again to top prospects. Their perspectives vary, but a few overarching themes emerged.

For starters, a legal education costs too much and schools aren’t doing themselves any favors by obscuring what students actually pay after aggressive discounts. But even a low-cost legal education is less appealing when jobs are scarce, so a more robust entry level lawyer job market would be a boon. Clearly, not an easy fix.

Finally, law schools must better communicate the benefits of a law degree and the key role lawyers play in society. Rethinking both how and what law schools teach is a good start to counteracting the tide of negative publicity that has plagued them for the past half decade.

To read more, click each individual’s name.

Rebecca White Berch

Retired Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, Former Chair of the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education

“The problem shouldn’t be money.”


Marci Eisenstein

Managing Partner, Schiff Hardin

“A flexible career path.”


Bill Henderson

Law Professor, Indiana University Maurer School of Law—Bloomington

“The short answer is jobs.”


Paul Marcus

Law Professor, College of William and Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law, President of the Association of American Law Schools.

“We don’t know how students are making their decisions.”


Kyle McEntee

Executive Director of Law School Transparency

“Not a PR problem.”


Deborah Jones Merritt

Law Professor, Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law

“Replace mandatory grading curves.”

Daniel Rodriguez

Dean, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

“Communicate the advantages.”


Randall Shepard

Retired Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, Chairman of the ABA’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education

“This is a buyer’s market.”


Aaron Taylor

Executive Director of AccessLex Institute for Legal Education Excellence, Professor at Saint Louis University School of Law

They are likely to have other options.”


Kellye Testy

President and CEO of the Law School Admission Council

“A lot of students are being counseled not to go into law on misinformation.”


Mitchell Zuklie

Chairman, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

“Own the problem collectively.”