Paul L. Caron

Sunday, December 20, 2020

LSAC: The Fall 2020 Law School Class ... And An Early Look At The Incoming Fall 2021 Class

Kellye Y. Testy (President & CEO, LSAC), Starting Law School Amid a Pandemic: The Incoming Class of 2020 (the following is excerpted from a longer post on LSAC’s Law:Fully blog):

Not only did a class of law students graduate in 2020 amid the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new class also just began their studies during this “one-of-a-kind” year. What do we know about this intrepid group? Each fall, LSAC works closely with the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and law schools across the United States to compile enrollment data for the incoming class of law students. This aggregated “Standard 509” data provides a snapshot of the size and make-up of the incoming class, including number of students, full- and part-time status, racial, ethnic, and gender information, as well as LSAT score and undergraduate GPA by quartiles for each law school. This data also provides an opportunity to look at areas of progress and emerging trends that could affect the future of legal education and our justice system more broadly. ...

When using maximum reporting, LSAC’s preferred reporting method because it captures all the racial and ethnic categories in which a candidate self-identifies, Black/African American students comprise 9.7% of 2020 matriculants, compared to 9.5% in 2019 and 9.7% in 2018. Hispanic/Latinx students make up 12.4% of this year’s incoming class, up from 11.8% in 2019 and 11.5% in 2018. ...

It is still early in the 2021 application cycle, but according to LSAC data, we are seeing very significant growth in terms of the overall number of applicants and applications, with strong growth across all demographic groups.

As of today, the total number of JD applicants is up 38.2% compared to this time last year.


For some demographic groups, the increase is even larger — Black/African American applicants are up 45.1% percent compared to this time last year. And applicants are applying to more schools, on average, so far this year compared to last. ...

While this year’s data on the size and diversity of the entering JD class includes some positive trends, we still have work to do. COVID-19 is creating a troubling drop in first-year undergraduate enrollment, particularly among minoritized students, which will negatively impact the potential law school applicant pool in the next few years. ...

We will all need to remain nimble and flexible and work together to champion law and legal education. I am inspired by the surge in applicants wanting to pursue a career in justice. Despite all the pain and ravages of COVID-19, I believe we have an opportunity to channel our energies into creating a legal system that also deserves to be called a “system of justice.”

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