Law School Applicant Pool Shrinks for Second Year in a Row

Law School Applicant Pool Shrinks for Second Year in a Row

The number of law school applicants has dropped for the second year in a row—indicating that the 13% applicant surge in 2021 may have been unique to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent data from the Law School Admission Council shows that law school applicants were down 2.4% from last year. By this time last year, the council had already received 96% of the total applicant count, which suggests that this cycle’s national applicant pool is likely to be slightly smaller than the previous year, Reuters reports.

“It’s a return to normalcy,” Susan Krinsky, the council’s executive vice president for operations, says. “It’s very consistent with the last five years except for 2021.”


In 2021, nearly 71,000 people applied to law school—a whopping 13% increase compared to 2020. Experts largely attribute 2021’s rise in law school applicants to three factors: the COVID-19 job market, the 2020 presidential election, and the switch to a shorter, at-home version of the LSAT.

In 2022, however, some of those factors changed as the emotions from the 2020 presidential election stemmed and the job market became less uncertain. In turn, 2022 saw a ‘return to normal’ for law school applicant numbers.


LSAC officials say that there could still be a small bump in applicant numbers later this month when scores from the June 9th LSAT are released. Nearly 3,400 more people registered to take the LSAT when compared to last year and the majority of those test takers have likely already applied for the fall semester and are looking to submit a higher score.

Additionally, experts expect competition to be just as high this year as the number of people applying with LSAT score of 170 to 180 is up slightly over last year.

“It’s a buyer’s market for those schools looking at 170 and above, but it has been a more forgiving cycle below 170,” admission consultant Mike Spivey says.

Sources: Reuters, ABA Journal, Reuters

Next Page: What to do after a low LSAT score.

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