The UK has its fair share of challenges, but in America the situation is much graver.

The UK is certainly no stranger to challenges and problems facing its legal education sector.

The changing nature of the profession it supplies, in particular the requirement for lesser-qualified (cheaper) options from firms and the collapse of public funding, has rebounded down to further-education providers.

This has seen some innovation in the sector, from money-back guarantees for jobless graduates to the creation of alternative business structures, and in other cases, notably the Kaplan Law School, some have decided to pack up altogether.

Yet if the UK legal education sector has its issues, these are little compared to the near-crisis emerging across the pond in the US.

A report, commissioned by the American Bar Association (ABA) and published in June, spelt out the perfect storm of dilemmas facing this sector.

For a start, the report laid out an alarming fall in enrolment: new entrants to private law school dropped by 30% in four years and by 18% to public law school.

Those who do enrol face a challenging job market post-graduation and a daunting red figure in their bank accounts.

More than one-third of the public school class of 2013 failed to land a permanent, full-time bar passage-required job; for private law schools this figure was 43%.

Average debt has risen markedly: from $102,000 in 2006 to $127,000 (around £83,000) in 2013 in private law schools, and from $66,000 to $88,000 for public law graduates.

The fall in enrolment means standards are falling, with falling numbers of high-scoring students coming into law school this year.

Innovation is starting to happen, with online classes more common and students encouraged to work with existing firms during their education.

Last month the ABA passed a series of reforms with good intentions but little prospect of any major turnaround. Terms and conditions will have to be in plain English and students will be offered minimum debt counselling, while law schools will be required to be more transparent about their finances.

Intriguingly for UK legal aid lawyers, the ABA wants an extension of the ‘public service loan forgiveness’ scheme, which rewards those who devote their skills to the public sector. Could a repayment of student debt be one way to encourage bright young lawyers into legal aid work? Perhaps.

The report says long-term solutions will be necessary in the US, but the law schools - themselves hardly flush - will not be enamoured by them. Caps on law student loans are suggested, as well as law schools taking on ‘skin in the game’ by being responsible for some loan repayment.

Ultimately, a thriving legal job market is the one guaranteed way to have young people flocking to the profession and willing to swallow the debt that comes with it.

But while that aspiration splutters, US legal education suffers. It seems increasing numbers of young people are simply deciding law is not worth the risk.

John Hyde is Gazette deputy news editor