Did you hear that applications to Hofstra University’s law school have nearly doubled in a year? No? Well, it’s true.
Of course, it’s fallacious to assume that one law school on Long Island is representative of what’s happening in general — I’d argue it’s generally a bad idea to extrapolate from Long Island to the nation at large. But applications to law school increased last year, if by a much much much smaller margin. One knowledgeable source predicts they’ll increase again this cycle.
These modest increases follow years of sharp decline. That decline was precipitated by some pretty ugly employment statistics for law school graduates some years back. The slide had to stop at some point — it’s not as if the world stopped needing lawyers all of a sudden. It’s just that the world needed considerably fewer lawyers than law schools were pumping out.
While employment prospects still range from pretty horrific to pretty great depending on the law school, things are looking a lot better than they did five years ago. So it makes sense that more people, if only a few more, are looking to go to law school.
What does this mean for you, as a prospective lawyer? Not much. The increase in applicant volume is modest. Over the last few years, it got easier to get into law school. The increase in means it’s not getting any easier anymore. But at least for this cycle, it’s not going to become appreciably harder either.
Of course, that could change. Maybe applications will skyrocket next cycle. I don’t expect it, but current events should teach us that it’s very hard to predict the future. But even if many more people decide to go to law school, it’ll take a lot for applications to even come close to their recent peak.
So carry on. Do your research and apply to law schools that give you a good chance of the kind of employment you’re interested in. If you’re a couple years from applying, it’s worth keeping your eyes on the trend, but there’s nothing so far in the overall numbers that should seriously affect anyone’s law school choices.