After years of challenges and declining admissions, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for law schools. Are more students are considering law school as a viable career option?
The ABA Journal recently reported that LSAT tests administered in December of 2016 increased 7.6% over December of 2015, as confirmed by the Law School Admission council. Yes, the number has increased. And that increase is the largest jump since 2009.
An initial glance of this data may prompt law schools to break out the champagne to celebrate. However, there may be other factors driving this data.
The Executive Director of Pre-Law Programs for Kaplan Test Prep, Jeff Thomas, indicated there may be other factors at play. While the legal job market has already hit bottom and many BigLaw firms have increased salaries, the increase in tests administered may be linked to the fall LSAT schedule. Typically, the fall LSATs are held in early October of each year. This year, the 2016 fall LSAT was scheduled on September 24. Because of the date, Thomas indicated many students decided to take the test in December, as opposed to the fall. The difference could certainly allow the test takers more time to prepare for the exam.
Regardless of the schedule change, there is certainly some positive news in the data. There were 87,954 tests administrated between June and December of 2016, which accounted for an overall increase of 2.7% over the same period in 2015. In addition, Thomas says, there is a good level of interest among students preparing for the February 2017 LSAT. These factors lead law schools to anticipate a small uptick in student applications.
As more students consider law school, there should be more scrutiny on law schools. Some are clearly having challenges. For example, the Charlotte Law School recently had its access to federal student loans terminated, was put on probation due to concerns about its admission policy standards and its alumni are calling for new leadership. Law schools and the ABA have a responsibility to students and alumni to make each and every ABA approved program a “sound” investment for students. Admission standards that translate into law school success and bar passage, strong academic and practical programs, and accurate post-grad placement statistics are critical points of information each potential investor, A.K.A. law student, needs to consider. Only time will tell if this data is an anomaly, or a real start of students moving back to law school.
For more information, click here.