Here's an encouraging statistic: even though law school graduates now have a much better chance of getting a job than they did just a few years ago, the most recent U.S. law school class is the smallest one in 40 years. Are kids actually getting smarter?

The latest numbers from the American Bar Association show that "the fall 2014 entering class is the smallest since 1974," despite the fact that there are more than 50 more law schools now than there were then. The total number of students in law school hit its lowest mark since 1982. It's a total decline of 28% since 2010, when every 21-34 year old college graduate who could not find a job due to the recession simultaneously decided to enroll in law school. Which turned out to be a bad idea.

Now—credit where credit is due—the youth of America have come to their senses and figured out that "being a lawyer," in all likelihood, amounts to agreeing to spend your life in an ill-lit room doing paperwork in exchange for a moderately fancy BMW. How low can law school enrollment go? I'm no expert, but my "back of the envelope" calculations show that, if about 1% of the people who go to law school saying "I want to go into public interest law and really help people" actually end up with public interest law jobs that actually help people, law school enrollment can fall by another 99% with no harm to the general public.

[Photo: Flickr]