Foreign attorney enrollment drops at U.S. law schools

The amount of foreign attorney’s applying to LL.M. programs in the United States appears to be dropping due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite having 143 LL.M. graduates in the Class of 2020, Fordham University School of Law in New York said enrollment numbers for the Fall 2020 semester are expected to drop. 

“We expect some number of incoming students to defer to the spring or following fall semester due to the difficulty of securing visas at the moment,” Assistant Dean at Fordham Law, Toni Jaeger-Fine said.

Fordham has one of the largest LL.M. programs in the U.S. Luckily for students who are experiencing difficulty getting to the states, Fordham has a very liberal deferral policy.

“We are being as flexible as we can by offering a fully online fall semester option as well as the option for deferred students to enroll in our online Legal English Institute program essentially for free in the fall semester,” Jaeger-Fine said.  “We will also accommodate students who receive their visas after the start of the semester.”

Many law schools were unable to share exact enrollment numbers, deferring to the numbers not being finalized yet, but most programs said they expect fewer LL.M. students or that the program was in-flux and the data requested was unavailable at this time.

The exception was at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland. Associate Director of Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law Program Lucy Brehm said it has made changes to its LL.M. program to help with enrollment. 

“We have added an online version of our LL.M. in Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law,” Brehm said. 

Lewis & Clark Law School is anticipating 10 foreign attorney’s this coming semester. That includes both in-person and online. 

Back in April the National Jurist wrote about how the number of foreign students may drop for the upcoming semester due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Here’s a look at what it means for universities and tuition rates if enrollment continues to drop. 

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