Paul L. Caron

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Is The Projected Large Increase In Fall 2021 Law School Applicants A COVID-19 Illusion? First-Time LSAT Test-Takers Are Down 3%

Following up on this week's posts:

Jeff Thomas (Kaplan):

In a year when we’ve been desperate for some good news, it’s heartening to see that the increase in law school applicants is across the board, with almost every ABA-approved law school seeing a jump. And while there are reasons to be optimistic, we’d caution against premature exuberance. While many are speculating about an “RBG Effect,” which to be fair, could be a contributing factor, the increase we are seeing right now is more likely a simple result of timing.

Between last year’s LSAT transition to a digital format, which caused many aspiring attorneys to test later than they normally would, and this year’s COVID situation, which gave many test-takers the opportunity to test earlier than they normally would, we’re simply seeing students apply earlier in the cycle this year compared to last year.

Two data points worth considering:

  1. According to Law School Admission Council data, the number of first-time test-takers for this testing year, feeding into this new application cycle, is actually down 3 percent.
  2. This time last year, only 24 percent of the final applicant count for the incoming Fall 2020 class was in. We still have relatively small numbers in this year's application pool to compare against.

In short, don't get too excited about a boon in applicants just yet. Leading indicators suggest this is likely a timing shift. We will have a more definitive read in the new year, when we pass the midway point of the traditional application cycle.

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It’s not a good time to go to law school. I worry that it never again will be a good time to go to law school.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 19, 2020 4:38:31 AM