LSAT Test Takers Down 45% Since 2009<
“He who laughs has not yet heard the bad news.” – Bertold Brecht
You could dismiss this observation as gibberish from another pessimist playwright. But if you’re examining the latest law school numbers, you might conclude the Bavarian Brahman has a point.
Earlier this week, Tipping the Scales reported on a recent Kaplan study, where two-thirds of law school admissions officers agreed that the decline in applications wouldn’t reverse itself. Now, couple that with Law School Admission Council (LSCAC) data showing that applications have dropped 36 percent in three years, from 602,300 in 2010 to 385,400 in 2013. For the final touch, consider the ABA Journal’s report that 2013 enrollments have declined 17.9 percent for fall 2013.
So what do you have?
Just the tip of the iceberg.
This week, the LSAC released more bad news. Their numbers show that the number of students taking the LSAT in October dropped 11 percent from the previous year, with first-time test-takers falling 13 percent. This indicates a 45 percent decline from October 2009 numbers. The 33,673 students who took the LSATs in October also reflect the lowest total since 1998.
And it gets worse.
In 2013, attendance at LSAC Law School Forums was down 47% in Boston, 18% in New York City, and 16.3% in Miami from the previous year… with only Washington DC showing an increase.
So what does this mean? According to The Faculty Lounge, a potential 10 percent % in enrollment for 2013-2014 would take $300 million dollars out of the system. If applied evenly to all law schools, it would result in a $1.5 million dollar revenue cut at each school. How could schools make up that shortfall? Alumni donations can only cover so much, which means higher costs, pay cuts, layoffs, and reduced services.
But we’ll save that bad news for another time.
Editor’s Note: To access LSAC’s historical data on LSAT test-taking, click here.
New England Law Dean Takes Pay Cut
You know what they say in journalism. A dog biting a man isn’t news. But a man biting a dog? Well, that’s your feature.
On this beat, a dean taking a pay cut is the equivalent of a man-bites-dog story. That’s what happened at New England Law, where Dean John O’Brien is cutting his salary by 25 percent. The school, which had previously frozen salaries and cut seven administrative positions, will also be offering buyouts to up to 20 faculty members. New England Law current has 85 full-time and 45 part-time faculty members.
Like many law schools, falling applications have taken a toll on New England Law. Enrollment has dropped from 1,115 students in 2006 to 956 in 2013. To compensate, the school has raised annual tuition, going from $22,475 in 2004 to $40,984 in 2012. It has also increased acceptance rates from 38 percent to 71 percent during that same span, while only seeing a 2 point drop in LSAT scores. The school is currently unranked by US News and World Report.
Despite shedding a fourth of his compensation, don’t shed too many tears for Dean O’Brien. His annual salary was only cut from $867,000 to $650,000. That’s still far more than the $360,500 he was earning in 2004. Considering the median salary for law school deans was $278,000 three years ago (according to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources), Dean O’Brien has a long way to go before crying poverty.