Acceptance Rates at Top Law Schools Dropped by 34% Last Year

Acceptance Rates at Top Law Schools Dropped by 34% Last Year

Gaining admission into a prestigious law school was more challenging this past year.

Prestigious law schools saw dramatic drops in acceptance rates with the top 15 seeing a 34.9% drop. The median acceptance rate for all law schools dropped by 10% from 45.3% to 40.8%, the National Jurist reports.


Among prestigious law schools, Harvard Law had the greatest percent decline in its acceptance rate, dropping from 13% to 6.9%, a 46.9% difference. Yale Law had the lowest acceptance rate at 4.1% this past year, a drop from 7.4% the year before.

Outside of the top law schools, the University of Miami had the largest change in percentage points with its acceptance rate dropping from 51.4% to 30.1%—a 41.5% decrease. Villanova Law School followed closely behind with a 40.2% decrease in acceptance rate from 29.8% to 17.8%.


2021 saw one of the largest applicant surges in recent history. Applications to law schools jumped to 475,112 from 376,048 in the year before. More people have applied to law school over the last year than any year in the past decade.

“This really was the hardest, most chaotic admission cycle we've seen in a long, long time,” Mike Spivey, founder of Spivey Consulting, writes in a blog post. “Ever really.”

Experts attribute the surge in applications to a variety of reasons—from the economy to major social justice events such as the death of George Floyd.

“Just seeing what was going on in the world and all the disparities — so much was happening where a legal education can really change things for somebody,” Susan Krinsky, the Law School Admission Council’s executive vice president for operations, tells Reuters.

Sources: National Jurist, US News, Spivey Consulting, Reuters

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