Law School Admissions: The Most Competitive Year Ever?

Businessman hurdles, competition

Applications to law school are higher than they’ve ever been since 2011.

Recent LSAC data shows a 35% jump in applicants and a 56% increase in total applications from last year. Bloomberg recently looked at why applications are so high and what the record year means for applicants.


One of the many potential reasons behind the application boost, according to experts, may be the influx of people who wanted to apply to law school last year, but put it off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As expectations for a return to a (mostly) normal fall 2021 at law schools are rising, perhaps many people who have wanted to be in the law school game for a while are coming in off the sideline now,” Vikram David Amar, Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law on the Urbana-Champaign, writes for Verdict.

Another factor? The increased focus on social justice following the murder of George Floyd has placed more demand on law degrees.

“They want to use law to make an impact, so I do think there’s a desire to make a difference in our world in so many stress areas,” Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the LSAC, tells US News.


The factors behind the influx of applicants has in turn—according to Anna Ivey, founder of Ivey Consulting—allowed law schools to be “much, much pickier,” she tells Bloomberg. Additionally, experts say that with the increased competition, scholarship funds will be more limited this cycle.

“Schools typically award most scholarships based on merit as a way of attracting applicants with high LSATs and GPAs,” Mike Spivey, founder of Spivey Consulting, writes. “After this year, schools may think (probably rightly) that they don’t need to give out as much aid to attract a highly qualified class. One of the things keeping the tuition bubble in check has been a steady increase in the availability of scholarship funds. We worry that availability could take a step back.”

For those still intent on applying to law school, experts recommend sending applications to more schools this cycle in order to increase your chances of acceptance. With each application, you’ll want to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

“Ultimately, you must do everything within your power to have the best LSAT score you can, the best personal statement, the best letters of recommendation, the best Why X essay, and so on,” Dave Killoran, CEO of PowerScore, writes.

Sources: Bloomberg, LSAC, Verdict, US News, PowerScore, Spivey Consulting

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