This year has been full of surprises, but perhaps the biggest surprise of all – perhaps for those who weren't careful – is people's sudden interest in law school. Back in June, we proposed preparing law schools for another rush of law applicants due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, just as they did during the recession. We are now in mid-November, and as you know, law school applicants are not only on the rise, but also on the rise.
The total number of law school applicants is up 32 percent year over year, and the number of applications submitted to date is up nearly 57 percent. According to the Law School Admission Council, applications were received by 194 of the 199 ABA-accredited law schools.
But there are tons of good reasons to be interested in law school right now, aside from the fact that applicants are socially distant from their previous social lives. We're in the middle of a health crisis, we've seen our nation divided by political unrest, we've been involved in protests against the fight against racial injustices in America, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a legal heroine who fought for women's rights, tragically passed away.
“We are seeing a real increase in candidates taking LSAT and applying. Many factors play a role here. But we hear a lot about motivation from (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) – the RBG moment, ”said LSAC President Kellye Testy. "We said our candidates have" really big goals ". They talk about racism, COVID, economic inequality, political polarization and climate change. They are inspired to make a difference."
And not for free, but the LSAT is now much easier to take because it is in an online format. More information on this from Karen Sloan on Law.com:
(D) The May launch of LSAT-Flex could also disrupt normal usage trends. The LSAT-Flex is shorter than the traditional LSAT and is offered online, allowing users to take it with them at home or at a location of their choice. And the LSAT-Flex seems to get higher scores. The number of applicants with a score of 160 or higher has increased by almost 44% so far. And the highest score – 175 to 180 – has more than doubled compared to that time last year.
The fact that the LSAT flex is shorter and can be taken at home may be a factor in these higher scores, as participants are likely to experience less fatigue and stress than the normal LSAT, which will require them to travel to test centers. Fordham Law Deputy Dean of Enrollment Stephen) Brown said. However, highscorers also tend to apply earlier in the cycle, noted Spivey. Thus, they could be overrepresented in the approval cycle at this point.
While we will have to wait and see if these application numbers will be valid for the remainder of the admission cycle, we already know that 31,000 people signed up to administer the LSAT in January, February and April. COVID-19 may have practically decimated the legal profession, but it seems certain that the next generation is ready to take action.
Law school applicants are high up. Is it an RBG moment? (Law.com)
Staci Zaretsky is Senior Editor at Above the Law, where she has been working since 2011. She would love to hear from you. Please send her an email with tips, questions, comments or criticism. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.