I noticed over at the Tax Prof Blog that the LSAC has begun releasing data on the most recent crop of LSAT information. At the Legal Whiteboard, Jerry Organ dives into the data and found that average scores are declining:
Across the 195 law schools in the 48 contiguous states and Hawaii fully-accredited by the ABA’s Section for Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar as of 2010 (thus excluding Belmont, LaVerne, California-Irvine, and Massachusetts-Dartmouth) the entering first-year class average LSAT profile fell one point at all three measures between 2012 and 2013, from 159.6/157/153.5 to 158.6/156/152.5. The entering first-year class average LSAT profile fell roughly two points at all three measures between 2010 and 2013, from 160.5/158.1/155.2 to 158.6/156/152.5.
The average decline in median LSAT scores between 2012 and 2013 across U.S. News “tiers” of law schools was .98 among top 50 schools, 1.18 among schools ranked 51-99, .72 among schools ranked 100-144, and 1.13 among schools ranked alphabetically.
Which made me want to revisit my post from last year, Top University Students Avoiding Law School, to see if that trend was holding true in light of the above data. The results? See for yourself:
The decline continues to be precipitous. In particular, note the column highlighted in yellow, the decline rate from 2012 to 2013. Doesn’t look good. A couple notes:
- Cornell has the smallest percentage decline from 2012 to 2013, but have the highest downward trend overall. That might indicate that we’re approaching the bottom of the dive at Cornell. Maybe 40% decline in applicants in the magic number?
- Stanford had the biggest drop from 2012 to 2013. If this trend continues, Stanford is going to be sending less than 100 students to law schools per year within a couple years. Yikes.
In addition to exploring the decline in applicants from top law schools, I also looked at which schools had the highest applicant increases. Are these schools still sending more and more students to law schools?
No. Last year these schools sent a large number of students to law school, indicating an upward trend. But from 2012 to 2013, all but three of the schools saw applicants to law schools decline (see highlighted column).
Bottom line, I think the vast majority of college students and the public at large are beginning to be aware of the problems currently facing the legal industry. Not sure what this means for law schools, but at this point, the future looks grim.