The number of applicants to Georgia's five law schools has slipped this year, reflecting a trend seen in legal education across the country.
Applications are down by more than 20 percent at three Georgia law schools and by smaller amounts at two others, school officials told the Daily Report this week.
Nationwide, 27,891 people had applied for seats in American Bar Association-accredited law schools as of Jan. 18, according to the Law School Admission Council. That represented a 20.1 percent decline since last year, when the number of applicants fell by nearly 14 percent. If the trend holds through the final months of the admission cycle, law schools would see a 38 percent crash since their peak in 2010.
Applications dipped by about 25 percent at Mercer University School of Law, 23 percent at Georgia State University College of Law and 21 percent at the University of Georgia School of Law, compared with the same point in the admissions process last year.
The drop at Emory University School of Law was small by comparison, at 2.6 percent.
Atlanta's John Marshall Law School has received 11 percent fewer applications so far.
"It seems to be a uniform phenomenon," said John Marshall Dean Richardson Lynn. "It's happening to everybody."
Officials at the schools said there's still time for them to make up ground before the application process closes in a few months.
Georgia State has been gaining ground since November, when its number of applicants was down 31 percent compared with the previous year, said spokeswoman Wendy Cromwell.
"Historically, we've been slow starters," she said.