These days, it seems like the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) only brings bad news when it releases new data on law school enrollment, applications or LSAT takers. This past week was no different. According to preliminary numbers released by the LSAC last Wednesday (March 19), law schools across the country received 6.7 percent fewer applications this year compared to 2014. What’s more, 4.7 percent fewer people overall applied to law school. The LSAC adds that if the numbers continue to at this rate, law school applicants for the fall of 2015 could hit a 15 year low.
The silver lining? These numbers are not as bad as years past. Wendy Margolis, an LSAC spokesperson, told Bloomberg Businessweek that it’s still too early to be worried about this year’s numbers. There were 3,700 less applicants in 2014 than in 2013 but each of the three years before 2013 saw drops of at least 8,000 applicants. So, it could always be worse. Until all of the application deadlines pass, Margolis argues that it’s too difficult to tell if significant drops will actually occur.
In April, the ABA’s annual job report data could lead to false hope, says St. Thomas School of Law professor and enrollment data guru, Jerome Organ. He predicts the numbers to look better than years past. However, Organ adds that these results will not be an actual reflection on a changing job market. Instead, these rising employment percentages will reflect fewer graduates in 2014 landing the same number of open jobs. Simply put, there are fewer graduates than vying for the same amount of jobs. Of course the percentages will look better.
Once again, there is a positive to this negative. Law schools will either change their current business models or (more likely) will continue to lower or at least freeze tuition and admit less qualified students than ever before. Either way, law school could become more accessible than ever before.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
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