On the heels of 8- to 9-point drops in LSAT test-takers year over year, LSAC is now reporting an 8.5% decline in applicants year-over-year. I explained last year that the worst may be yet to come for law schools, and noted that the shrinking 2013-2014 applicant pool would linger with law schools until 2017. This cycle promises to have still fewer applicants, which means even more deep impacts to law school budgets through at least 2018. Added with declining bar passage rates, law schools are facing the most dire circumstances yet. Some may not truly feel the financial effects for another year or two, but even more difficult decisions will be made this applicant cycle that may impact which schools survive.
(While I usually accompany a post like this with a chart displaying a precarious decline, I'm holding off for more concrete numbers from the ABA for the Class of 2017....)