Law schools still can’t catch a break. Legal education takes hit- after-hit from the media and this week was no different. Bloomberg Businessweek reported this week that the smartest students are leaving law schools.
The brain drain is being measured by LSAT scores. According to University of St. Thomas School of Law professor, Jerome Organ’s interpretation of data provided by the Law School Admissions Council (the organization that administers the LSAT), there has been a significant decrease in the number of applicants and students enrolling with high LSAT scores from 2010 to 2015.
According to the data, as of March 2015, law schools are getting about half the number of applicants with scores of 165 or higher compared to 2010. The LSAT is scored on a scale between 120 and 180. However, this isn’t too scary. After all, applications in general have dropped nearly that much in the same amount of time.
The scary part is this: While the number of applicants scoring less than 150 has also decreased over the past five years, the number of applicants matriculating with a score of 150 or less increased. According to the data, 7,000 students with a score of 150 or less enrolled in law school in 2010. This year, Organ predicts about 8,700 students with such scores will enroll.
“The top is eroding and the bottom is growing,” Organ told Businessweek. LSAT scores are used by admissions committees to help predict likelihood of first year and bar success. “Four years from now, when those people graduate and take the bar, you’ll have a much smaller percentage that are likely to pass the bar and a much larger percentage that are likely to fail,” Organ added.
No official announcement has been made on February bar results, but the July 2014 bar results made headlines with first, the lowest scores in decades, and second, a letter from the director of the National Conference of Bar Examiners to law school deans saying the July 2014 cohort was “less able” than previous cohorts.
If these stats are any indicator, it appears bar results could very well continue to fall.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
Also in this issue: