October LSAT Test-Takers Down 11%: What Does it all Mean?

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We here at Blueprint LSAT Prep are shocked (SHOCKED!) to find that, yet again, the number of LSAT test-takers is down. Way down: 11% since last year, and 45% since the high of 2009. According to Law.com (and this handy chart provided by LSAC), this makes it 13 straight administrations with a decline in LSAT test-takers.

To put some numbers on it (and not just percents), 60,746 people took the 2009 October LSAT. That’s more than twice as many students as there were legal positions available (2.28 times as many, to be exact). This year, that number is down to 33,673 – or only 1.4 times as many LSAT test-takers as available legal positions! We call that progress, readers.

But what does it mean?

Well, first off, fewer people are taking the LSAT. But that’s not a helpful answer.

The implications of fewer LSAT test-takers this time are the same as every other time – there will be fewer people applying for law school. Admissions will be slightly less competitive than last year, and schools will be forced to either let their GPA/LSAT numbers drop further (see our article on Above the Law; also, bookmark the main site for when you get into law school and want to procrastinate) or decrease their class size. Expect more of the former than the latter, however. That one won’t cost them money, and it also won’t hurt them if everyone is doing it.

In the end, this is a good thing for everyone. Students will have an easier time gaining admission to law school. Law schools will see a higher percentage of their students gainfully employed. And the legal profession will, hopefully, return to a level where going to law school and working hard guarantees employment.

As long as law schools accept the new reality and adjust their admissions standards accordingly.

So, you know, let’s hope for that.

8 Responses

  1. Splinterssuck says:

    Does this mean that students who have a high gpa from a good school and a lower lsat score stand a chance to get into a top 15 program? I have been afraid to reach too far with a 3.9 and 160

    • Matt Shinners says:

      That 160 is going to be pushing it a bit for the T14. High GPAs are still relatively easy to find; high LSAT scores are getting rarer. I’d expect someone with a low GPA but high LSAT to have a much easier time getting into a school now than someone with the reverse.

      That said, there are fewer applicants overall, so you’ll have a better shot than someone with your numbers from a year or two ago. But ~5 points below the T14 25% lower bound is going to make it a tough sell.

  2. Omar says:

    Debating whether to retake the December LSAT…I have a 162/166 and 3.97 GPA. What do you think the chances of getting into a T14 considering the drop in applicants?

    • Matt Shinners says:

      I think the lower T14 is a pretty solid bet for someone with a 166/3.97. However, if you think you have a few more points in you, that would open up the rest of the T14 and also possibly lead to scholarship money.

  3. Jarrett Ezekiel Reeves says:

    I have a lousy 3.25 GPA due to some extenuating circumstances (mostly lousy performance in some dual-enrollment courses from high school).

    If I score a 169 or 170 in December, however, ED to UVA as soon as scores come out on January 4, and put 110% into my personal statement and “Why UVA” Essay, and visit the campus a second time in mid-January, do you think I might have a reasonable shot at getting in? At least enough to justify the application fee?

    Also, for whatever it’s worth, I have every expectation that my letters of recommendation will be second to almost none.

    • Matt Shinners says:

      I think it’s worth the application fee, though I would expect to get bumped into regular decision. Though it wouldn’t be unheard of/impossible to get in ED.

      • Jarrett Ezekiel Reeves says:

        Is there a score I could get that would make a straight-up admit through ED more likely than not? 180?

  4. Ladida says:

    I have a 3.68 and i just took the dec lsat. I’m thinking around 166-169 – is cornell/georgetown a good shot?

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