The Talent

April 11, 2012 6:47 PM

The Careerist: Caliber of Law School Applicants Drops

Posted by Vivia Chen


A sign of market rationality—or the start of the decline of the legal profession? For the second year in a row, law school applications are down. According to the Law School Admission Council, "60,693 applicants submitted 440,964 law school applications as of March 30 for the academic year starting this fall," reports the New Jersey Law Journal. "That's 15.6 percent fewer applicants and 13.6 percent fewer applications than about the same time last year."

But here's the kicker: The smart ones (I use that term loosely to mean those with high LSAT scores) are leading the drop. Among those who score near the top on the LSATs (in the 170-174 range), applications to law schools have dropped by more than 20 percent (applications by those who scored at the very top—175 to 180—dropped by 13.6 percent).

Now the bad, sad news: Among those with the worst LSAT scores, there hasn't been that much of a drop.

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I guess I don't understand how the LSAT is graded. I thought it was curved, based on scores from that year? If that's the case, then this would just indicate that smart people are applying to fewer schools.

I thought the LSAT was curved based on an average of the last three years. If that is true then it would indicate that scores are dropping. If T-Bone is correct then this study shows nothing, and it could mean that the highest scorers are applying to less schools

The # of law school applicants has sharply decreased over time, leading law schools to admit an increasing % of them.

This trend has continued to the point that the shrinking pool of applicants will force law schools to significantly lower their standards or risk decreasing the tuition money upon which their existence depends.


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