A couple of years ago, I visualized the rather significant increase in non-JD enrollment at many American law schools after identifying this rising trend at many law schools. The ABA did not disclose figures for the Class of 2014. But the figures for 2015-2016 (PDF) are even more dramatic.
ABA-accredited schools reported 13,086 non-JD enrollees, up from 11,1132 just two years ago. Visualizing the overall non-JD enrollment over time displays the rather recent sharper uptick on the heels of some slow increases over the years.
But one comparison that's even more stark is the number of non-JD enrollees as a percentage of total law school enrollment. As JD programs shrink, non-JD enrollees are not simply a larger number of students in the seats, but a larger percentage of the law school programming overall.
In the Fall of 2012, 7.4%, or about 1 in 14 law school enrollees, were non-JD students. In the Fall of 2013, that rose to 8.0%, or about 1 in 12. This year, it's 10.3%, or about 1 in 10.
That's a rather dramatic shift in the overall composition of legal education in the period of a few years. How long it lasts, where the trend goes, and what impact non-JD programming has on the JD programming remains to be seen.
Display note: I did start the y-axis for non-JD percentage at a non-zero number to avoid excessive white space, but as it displays relative changes in value as a percentage, I think it is not terribly deceptive. It's a reason I started the overall numbers at zero, despite the white space below.