Monday, July 10, 2017
Paul L. Caron (Dean, Pepperdine) & Kellye Y. Testy (President & CEO, LSAC; Former Dean, University of Washington), Corrected Data: The Quantity and Quality of Law School Applicants:
We spent some time together at the recent ABA Deans Workshop in Washington, D.C. and discussed recent blog posts Paul had written about the declining quantity and quality of law school applicants. These posts have attracted quite a bit of attention in the blogosphere and mainstream media. Unfortunately, Paul relied on incomplete data on the Internet and conflated some of the reporting categories rather than using official LSAC data and categorization. We want to set the record straight in this blog post and also announce a new initiative to ensure that accurate legal education data is more easily accessible by the law school community and the public.
The trend Paul reported — the decline in the number of law school applicants and the disproportionately greater decline in the higher LSAT score band — is correct. But the rate of decline in the higher LSAT score band is less than Paul reported. The highest scoring band has moved by 3%, from 29% to 26%, between 2010-11 and 2016-17. The larger change, as we have all understood for some time, is in the overall number of applicants to law schools. Here are the official LSAC data:
One of Kellye’s goals as the new President of LSAC is to ensure that legal education’s stakeholders have access to accurate and complete data in these challenging times to better inform debate and decision-making. In addition, she will prioritize leading LSAC to be an even stronger partner to law schools, working collaboratively with deans for the benefit of legal education, the profession, and the rule of law. As part that effort, Kellye has agreed to write a monthly column on TaxProf Blog highlighting trends in the most recent LSAC data and new initiatives underway at LSAC of interest to law schools. This column will be called “The Justice Pipeline” and will start in August. Paul wants to thank Kellye for her commitment to increase the visibility of LSAC’s data and for her graciousness in correcting the record on the quantity and quality of law school applicants.