Law school applications are up.
As of last week, the number of law school applicants had risen 32% when compared to the same time last year. Submitted applications saw a nearly 57% increase, according to data from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) reported by Law.com.
It’s difficult to pinpoint why exactly more people are applying to law school. However, experts say the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have played a big role.
“It has become trite, but 2020 is a unique year,” Kellye Testy, president of LSAC, says. “We are seeing a real surge in candidates taking the LSAT and applying. There are a lot of factors at work here. But we hear a lot of about motivation from [Ruth Bader Ginsburg]—the RBG moment. We’ve been saying our candidates have ‘really big goals.’ They are talking about racism, COVID, economic inequality, political polarization, and climate change. They are inspired to make a difference.”
IS THE EARLY SURGE SUSTAINABLE?
While the applicant numbers are overwhelmingly strong right now, experts caution that it may be too early in the admissions cycle to tell if they will last.
By mid-December, there should be a clearer picture of the admissions numbers. Still, the early surge is already making an impact at law school admissions offices.
At Fordham University School of Law, admissions officers typically release early action offers by Thanksgiving. Due to a more than 56% surge of applications this year, the law school says it is aiming closer to December 15.
WHY THE SURGE?
Another potential reason for the surge in applicants could be attributed to the introduction of the LSAT-Flex, the online LSAT exam. When compared to the traditional LSAT, the LSAT-Flex is shorter and remote.
And, it seems, test-takers are performing well. According to Law.com, the number of applicants with scores of 160 or higher is up nearly 44% so far.
Another possible reason for the surge? Think the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ‘new normal’ of remote work and school.
“People have less to do socially,” Stephen Brown, assistant dean of enrollment at Fordham Law, tells Law.com. “I’ve had conversations with many applicants on evenings, when they would usually be out with their friends. Instead, they are talking to law school admissions folks.”