Paul L. Caron

Friday, February 26, 2021

Amar: What Accounts For The Increase In Law School Applications This Year?

Vikram David Amar (Dean, Illinois), What Accounts for the Increase in Law School Applications This Year?:

As we head into the latter part of this year’s admissions cycle, the number of applicants to law schools around the country is up over 21%. The increase in applicants varies across regions, but in no area is it up less than 17% compared to this time last year. ...

What could account for such a development? It’s hard to say for sure, but there are several possibilities that are obvious enough to warrant exploration.

One is that many people wanted to go to law school last year, but chose not to because of COVID and the problems it created (as to geographic mobility, financial hardships for many families, and the necessity of remote or hybrid instruction at most law schools, to name just a few.) As expectations for a return to a (mostly) normal fall 2021 at law schools are rising, perhaps many people who have wanted to be in the law school game for a while are coming in off the sideline now. ...

Another part of the explanation might involve an improving job market (and broader awareness of it) for law graduates. ...

But as important as these causal factors might be, I have a strong sense that social (and not pecuniary) awareness is what is driving much of this year’s increased interest in law schools. Over the past twelve months, we have seen a national triple whammy that highlights the need for more and better professionals with legal training, ethics, and instincts.

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