Law school applications have increased 10.6% in the past year.
A recent report by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) shows that the number of law school applications increased by 10.6% when compared to January last year. According to the report, applicants are up 9.5% and applications are up 10.6% from 2017–2018.
A Stronger Economy
Austen Parrish, dean of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, tells U.S. News & World Report that the increase in law applications is reflective of the economy.
“Generally, two or three years after a recession, you start seeing people go back to law school, and one of the explanations is that immediately after the recession, as things start improving, people are doing better in their own jobs, so they don’t bother going to graduate school,” he says. “But then at some point, they don’t want to put their lives on hold forever, and for them to achieve their goals, they need to get a higher degree.”
Gregory N. Mandel is dean and professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. Mandel tells U.S. News that the law school industry may well be past the low it reached during the recession.
“As law school applications tend to be cyclical, I expect that we are in the beginning of a longer-term increase in applications,” he says. “That said, given broader trends in the legal market and the extreme high before the recession, I do not expect that we will reach the level of law school applications that we were at ten years ago.”
According to employment data from the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, nearly 73% of 2016 grads from ABA-accredited law schools had full-time jobs that required or preferred JDs.
Another potential reason behind the increase in application is the “Trump bump.”
Dave Killoran is the CEO of the PowerScore admissions consulting firm. Killoran tells U.S. News that politics has become a strong reason behind why many of his clients choose to attend law school.
“Trump has had a galvanizing effect on many prospective students, both Democrat and Republican,” he says. “We see our students discussing specific policies far more frequently than in the past, and the depth of feeling they are expressing is greater than ever before.”
That feeling is reflected in a boost in test-takers. In June 2017, LSAC announced that the LSAT would be offered six times annually. Previously, the exam was only administered four times a year.
Sources: U.S. News, ABA Journal, ABA Journal