Median LSAT Scores Are Soaring: Here’s Why 

Law schools across the nation are seeing increased LSAT scores for their first-year classes.

Reuters reports that at least six law schools saw an increase of three points in their median LSAT score, including top schools such as Cornell Law and Georgetown Law. 42 schools reported that their median LSAT score went up by two points. One Portland-based law school, Lewis & Clark Law, saw a record-breaking increase in its median score—jumping from 158 to 162.

SURGE IN APPLICANTS, INCREASE IN COMPETITION

Experts say the increased scores this year are likely due to the competitive admissions cycle. Across the nation, the number of law school applicants jumped nearly 13%.

Reuters’ data for the LSAT scores was compiled by Spivey Consulting, a law school admissions consulting firm. Mike Spivey, founder of Spivey Consulting, says that more than two-thirds of law schools have reported data so far—none have shown a drop in median LSAT scores.

“I’ve never seen that in the 21 or 22 years I been following this,” Spivey tells Reuters. “That might be the definition of unprecedented.”

BUSINESS IS BOOMING

The law industry has seen an improving job market for law grads in recent years. The share of graduates employed in a full-time, law license-required job grew to nearly 75%—a roughly 10 percentage point increase over the past five to six years, according to ABA data. Moreover, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that lawyers’ job outlook will grow 9% by 2030.

Vikram David Amar, dean and Iwan Foundation professor of law at the University of Illinois College of Law at Urbana-Champaign, hypothesizes that the higher job opportunities may be a reason why law schools are seeing a surge in applicants.

“One of the reasons I think increased job opportunities might account for some of the increased application volume this year is that the applicant pool nationally this year is not only larger generally, in particular it contains significantly more people who did better on the LSAT,” Amar writes for Verdict. “And people who do better on the LSAT are more likely to attend and graduate from law schools that have the better track records in placing students in jobs, especially higher-paying jobs in larger cities. So it’s quite possible that this segment of the applicant pool, in particular, has become aware of the relative success many law schools are having in the job market of late.”

Sources: Reuters, Verdict, Reuters, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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