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Pandemic Impact On Law School Enrollment Less Than Expected 

The COVID-19 pandemic, despite causing global economic turbulence, hasn’t hurt law school enrollment nearly as much.

New data released by the American Bar Association shows that the total number of J.D. students rose by 1.5% in 2020 with a slight dip in new student enrollment, Law.com reports.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

According to the data, there were 38,202 new students enrolled at the 197 ABA-approved law schools in the fall of 2020. A slight decrease from 2019, which saw 38,283.

So, what does this mean for law schools?

Well, for one, it seems to imply that people are still interested in pursuing a law degree.

“Those numbers indicate that the abrupt shift to online classes in the spring and the decision by many schools to remain online this year did not dissuade large numbers of aspiring lawyers to make other plans or defer their law school enrollment until the pandemic subsides,” Kenneth Artz, of Law.com, writes.

The ABA numbers are also reflective of data released by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) about a month ago which showed that the number of law school applicants rose by 32%.

Experts pointed to the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the current social state in the U.S. as potential reasons for the increase.

“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.”

Sources: Law.com, American Bar Association, Tipping the Scales

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