LSAT administrations and law school applications are up this cycle. Whether they’re motivated by an improved job market or inspired by national politics, more people are looking to go to law school.
The numbers for this cycle aren’t final yet, but it looks like the number of applicants with LSAT scores of 165 or higher is up even more than applications in general are up. What does this mean for law school applicants in the future?
I suspect this increase will continue next cycle. When law school applications dropped precipitously a few years back, the number of applications with high LSAT scores dropped disproportionately. That kind of didn’t make sense, since high scorers were the most insulated from the employment crisis. It seems natural, then, that the number of high scorers will increase again as law school rebounds in popularity.
If this increase in high-scoring applicants continues, things will get more competitive at top-ranked law schools. Unless law schools increase their class sizes, they’ll have to raise their standards. That makes it harder to get in.
So, if you’re thinking of applying to law school this upcoming cycle, it’s likely to be even more important than it usually is to get your application on point. That means it’s time to start thinking about the LSAT. The above-linked article points out that high scorers are more likely to apply earlier in the cycle. You therefore don’t want to be stuck applying late in a cycle when applications are on the upswing.
For the next application cycle, I’d recommend targeting the June LSAT or the (brand new!) July LSAT. If you take one of those LSATs and things don’t go the way you hoped for, you’ll have time to retake the LSAT and still get your application in on the early side. And regardless of when you take the LSAT, make sure to give the test the attention it deserves.
Don’t ignore the rest of your application either. If your GPA is still in your control, keep it up. Think carefully about your personal statement and give yourself ample time to revise it. Ask for letters of rec with plenty of time so that slow professors won’t hold up your application.
From law schools’ perspective, an increase in applications is a good thing. From the legal profession’s standpoint, it’s a good thing to have more talent coming in. If you’re looking to break in, it means that things will be more competitive. But you’re up for the competition, right? It’ll be an exciting time to become a lawyer.