The numbers are out, and a losing streak longer than even the Kansas City Chiefs managed this season continued: last December’s LSAT marked the ninth consecutive LSAT administration for which numbers were down from the previous year. 30,226 law school hopefuls took the 2012 December LSAT. That’s down 15.6% from December 2011 and down 40.1% from the December LSAT’s peak of 50,444 in 2009. All of this is largely because of bad press about the legal job market that newly minted lawyers have faced in the past few years.
The precipitous decline in LSAT test takers shows no signs of abating, at least in terms of percentages (there’ll be no percentages vs. numbers fallacies in this LSAT blog post). If you’re looking to go to law school, fewer people taking the LSAT correlates to fewer law school applicants. And fewer law school applicants means less competition. Less competition means an easier time getting in and more scholarship money. In other words, if you want to go to law school, now is an advantageous time to apply.
Something’s going to have to give. There can’t be as many law schools as there are now, with incoming class sizes as small as they are now, charging the tuition that they charge now, with the demand for law school that currently exists. Barring a surge in law school applicants, there’ll eventually be some changes to the landscape. But for now, it looks like many law schools are using scholarship money to try to keep warm through this cold spell. If you’re a strong law school applicant you can reap the rewards.
I’ll predict that this February LSAT test taker population will take the streak into double digits. The February LSAT never hit the highest of highs that the October and December LSATs reached, and its decline has been slightly more measured. I’ll go out on a limb and predict a 12% decrease in test takers for the February LSAT, as compared to February 2012. If I’m right, 19,494 people will take the LSAT (I rounded up because 0.8 of an LSAT test taker is a gruesome thought). This very well could be the first time since February 2000 that fewer than 20,000 people sit for an LSAT. For some perspective, Bill Clinton was president then.