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Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rosier Picture For Fall 2016 Law School Admissions

KaplanKaplan Test Prep, Survey: Majority of Law Schools Predict Application Bump in Current Cycle, But They Also Predict at Least One Law School Will Shut Down:

According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2015 survey of admissions officers at 120 law schools across the United States*, the vast majority of law school admissions officers predict that they are going to see something they haven’t seen in many years: an increase in applications. Nearly nine in 10 (88%) are confident that their law school will see a spike for the 2015-2016 application cycle, compared to the previous cycle. This level of optimism represents a dramatic reversal of opinion from Kaplan’s 2014 survey when only 46% expressed confidence that their law school would see an increase in applications over the previous cycle.  That spike that nearly half predicted didn’t come to fruition. In fact, the 2014 entering law school class was the smallest one in 40 years. ...

But current data from the Law School Admission Council, the organization that writes the LSAT®, shows that admissions officers might be onto something. For three consecutive administrations of the LSAT — December 2014, February 2015, and June 2015 — the number of LSAT takers increased, compared to the previous year. This is a pattern not seen since the 2009-2010 cycle, during the Great Recession.

Kaplan’s survey also found that just 35% of law schools cut the number of seats for their 2015 class of first-year students, much lower than the 54% who reported doing so for the 2014 class of 1Ls. ...

It’s not all good news though. Law school admissions officers say the past few years of slumping applications are taking its toll — 87% predict at least one law school will close its doors over the next few years due to financial insolvability. 

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/10/rosier-picture-for-fall-2016-law-school-admissions.html

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Comments

Law applicants of traditional quality (>155 LSAT -e.g. approx Suffolk Law's median in 2010) are still down almost 10% this cycle. The numbers have been buoyed by a huge increase in the lowest quality applicants, who never thought to consider law school until schools started bombarding them with marketing efforts.

For this cycle, I predict another big early drop in the first report (-8% or so), which will even out to a negligible drop by the end of the cycle as unprecedented numbers of applicants with <145 LSATs emerge.

Posted by: JM | Oct 2, 2015 10:51:50 AM

This will be bad news for the sky is falling crowd I suppose.

Posted by: mike livingston | Oct 4, 2015 5:14:53 AM

"dead cat bounce"

- Dropped from a sufficent height, even a dead cat will bounce when it hits the ground.

That said, the sky isn't falling, it fell. The smart money (high LSAT / Top Schools) is staying away and the schools are taking whatever they can stomach from the dullards to make ends meet. Further, the low qualifications folks have a better understanding what concessions they can extract from schools based on their qualifications. I wouldn't want to be a Dean atop a middling to low school.

Posted by: terry malloy | Oct 5, 2015 5:53:33 AM

Hold the champagne Prof. Livingston. This was just a survey of what admissions officers think will happen. No new facts whatsoever.

Posted by: JM | Oct 5, 2015 7:13:20 AM

@Mike,

So how long before Rutgers-Camden (or do you just call it Rutgers now?) bounces back from its 5 point drop in median LSAT and even more notable .2 median GPA drop? A lot of law schools have dropped their LSAT scores; I've seen very few that have had 25th/median/75th percentile GPA declines - particularly when the incoming classes are shrinking...

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Oct 5, 2015 7:51:08 AM

Law school enrollment had been artificially high for one reason: fraudulent employment statistics advertised by the schools (e.g., statistics suggesting that you could go to a school ranked 55th and have a reasonable likelihood of coming out with a six figure job, when the reality was -- and still is -- closer to $50k). Without those fraudulent employment statistics in place, law school enrollment will not rebound for decades.

Posted by: anon. 25 | Oct 5, 2015 8:00:07 AM