Data shows fewer applicants for law school - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Data shows fewer applicants for law school

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

University of Iowa freshman Asmaa Elkeurti has dreamed of becoming a lawyer since taking part in mock trials in middle school.

"I excelled at it.  I had a lot of fun.  I did well," she said.

But recently, reality set in.

"I've been hearing more and more that people aren't finding jobs after graduating from law schools.  They're leaving with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt with really no career options," Elkeurti said.

Elkeurti has since changed course, considering a degree in journalism.

"I'm keeping my options open," she said.

Data from the Law School Admission Council finds that many others are sharing the same fears. The organization says 2011 applicants were down 10 percent across the county and 2012 isn't looking any better.

"There certainly has been a lot of press about the declining job market and also the accumulation of debt.  I think that combination can be intimidating," said Wendy Margolis, communication director with LSAC.

The University of Iowa Law School reflects the current trends, seeing a 23 percent drop-off in its applicant pool.

But UI officials say the quality of applicants has remained strong and a high percentage have found jobs in spite of the difficulties.

"We've actually done quite well in terms of the job placement for our graduates, but nationally it's been a different situation," said Collins Byrd, UI Law Assistant Dean of Admissions.

So while some, like UI sophomore Hillary Nossaman, plan on applying for law school regardless of the economy.

"I know that I can do what it takes to get a job in this field," Nossaman said.

Others, like Elkeurti, will put their dreams on hold, waiting for a better job outlook in their field.

"It's frustrating to know that you've had this goal, this plan since you were really young, and then you grow up and get that real world exposure," Elkeurti said.

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