Guess what? It looks like law school applications are finally going up! Did you wait to apply to law school? Nervous it’ll be a lot harder to get in now?
Well, don’t worry. We’ve hit bottom and are slowly climbing out. This year should show only modest gains in applicants.
Legal hiring has improved and law school hopefuls are responding by applying in greater numbers.
How much has it improved? Well take a look at this:
According to the trustworthy folks at NALP, fall recruiting is almost back up to pre-recession levels. There was a big jump from 2013 to 2014. Read the full report here.
Then we have the 2014 NLJ “Go-To Law Schools”:
To put it in perspective, Columbia was at the top of the same list back in 2007, sending 75% of its students to the country’s 250 largest firms. And for the class of 2010 — the class that went trough fall recruiting during the recession — Columbia sent only 55%. Chicago, which topped the 2010 list, sent 59%. We’re still not at pre-recession hiring levels, but things are look much better.
We won’t see a rush to law school for a while. Hiring would have to pick up some more. There is still a significant number of law school graduates at the top schools who can’t get jobs. So I wouldn’t expect a rapid increase in applicants.
Moreover, schools have been reducing class sizes in an effort to keep their LSAT and GPA numbers up. More applicants mean schools can now increase class sizes. And of course they will because they want to make up for the money they lost by keeping their class sizes small.
All this means that law school admissions probably will not be significantly more competitive this year, or in the next few years to come.
Instead of worrying about a more competitive application cycle, think of this as a sign that the legal market is improving. Good luck with applications!