Tuesday, October 6, 2015
The Legal Whiteboard: Part Two - The Impact of Attrition on the Composition of Graduating Classes of Law Students -- 2013-2016, by Jerry Organ (St. Thomas):
In late December 2014, I posted a blog entitled Part One – The Composition of the Graduating Classes of Law Students – 2013-2016. That blog posting described how the composition of the entering classes between 2010 and 2013 has shifted. During that time, the percentage at or above an LSAT of 160 dropped by nearly 20% from 40.8% to 33.4%. Meanwhile, the percentage at or below an LSAT of 149 increased by over 50% from 14.2% to 22.5%.
But this reflects the composition of the entering classes. How do the graduating classes compare with the entering classes? This depends upon the attrition experienced by the students in a given entering class. This much belated Part Two discusses what we know about first-year attrition rates among law schools.
I have compiled attrition data from all of the fully-accredited ABA law schools outside of Puerto Rico for the last four full academic years. I have calculated average attrition rates for the class as a whole and then broken out average attrition rates by law schools in different median LSAT categories – 160+, 155-159, 150-154 and <150.
In a nutshell, overall first-year attrition increases as the median LSAT of the law school decreases. Over the last few years, while “academic attrition” has declined for law schools with median LSATs of 150 or greater, “other attrition” has increased modestly, particularly for law schools with median LSATs <150, resulting in a slight increase in overall first-year attrition between 2010 and 2013.