The day of reckoning is coming. In 2012, the number of law school applicants have been fallen by 12.3%. This was on top of a similar percentage of drop in applicants in 2011.
And recently, Professor Jerry Organ published an interesting study showing that the LSAT scores of law school matriculants in 2013 have changed for the worse. Specifically, the number of matriculants with LSAT scores about 165 have fallen while matriculants with LSAT scores below 150 have increased.
Professor Organ also points out that as of 2009, law schools use the highest score of an applicant who has taken the LSAT numerous times (as opposed to average scores) for
US News Rankings LSAC/ABA reporting purposes. This may mean that a number of these sub 150 LSAT matriculants have taken the LSAT multiple times and still couldn’t break the life-changing 150 barrier.
He closes with the following prediction:
In terms of LSAT profile, the Fall 2013 entering class is almost certainly the weakest of any class going back to Fall 2002. This may impact the classroom experience at some law schools and may impact bar passage results when the Fall 2013 entering class graduates in 2016.
In other words, law schools are
admitting dumbasses lowering their admission standards at their own peril.
Look, I – and many others – are not saying that people who score less than 150 on the LSAT will be bad attorneys. It’s just that with this score, you will likely have a harder time reading through and understanding thought-provoking yet practical legal concepts like the Rule of Perpetuities, the Erie Doctrine, the Privileges and Immunities Clause and UCC 2-207, to name a few. You will have to step up your studies and possibly take some Ritalin or risk flunking out of school or failing the bar exam.
So why are the 165+ group not going to law school? Professor Organ plans to explain this in a future blog post but I thought I’d put in my two cents:
1) The gunners are going to med school or MBA school – Now that more 0Ls and their parents know that even attending a top-tier law school is risky due to the lawyer glut, the
greedy, money-hungry bastards graduates of top schools are applying to other professional programs. The future patent lawyers are applying to medical school. Biglaw wannabes are flocking to MBA programs hoping to become investment bankers instead.
TIP: If you have a strong GPA and LSAT score (165+), you should contact a few top tier MBA programs and ask if you have a shot at being admitted without taking the GMAT. The LSAT and GMAT scoring system have similar characteristics – try dropping the 1 and adding a 0 to the end of your LSAT score. The ranking percentiles for both the LSAT and GMAT are similar at the 170+/700+ scoring range. If some good B-schools will consider your application and you are not interested in a joint JD/MBA program, you can use this as a tool to negotiate a tuition discount between either program.
2) Holding out for Harvard – I think a few law school wannabes have deferred going to law school for a year hoping to attend Harvard, Yale or Stanford. They will use the extra year to bump up their GPA/LSAT scores, gain work experience and maybe save money for tuition. The borderline applicants may have a chance. The dreamers will keep dreaming.
3) Those who are on the fence will wait – If a college graduate with decent scores has a stable (although boring) job, there is no point in ditching it. They can wait. In the years to come, law school tuition will drop further and applicants with top credentials will be heavily recruited with tuition discount offers and stipends.