LSAC Numbers: Fewer Applicants, Fewer Applications, Less Demand

By William Peacock, Esq. on June 03, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

So you want to be a lawyer? You're not alone. If you are seeking admittance to the class of 2016, you are one of 55,670 people who have applied for this upcoming school year, according to data released by the LSAC. That may sound like a lot, but that represents a 13.4 percent drop from last year.

That's good news for you (less competition). Here is some more: applications are down 18.8 percent.

Less applicants, submitting less applications per applicant, all for about 48,700 seats (as of Fall 2012).

For now, there doesn't seem to be nearly as dramatic of a drop in the number of seats available. Though schools are recognizing that there are fewer highly-qualified applicants to fight over, the supply correction is lagging behind the demand contraction.

The only reduction in seats available to applicants seems to be a mere correction to a mid-recession hike. ABA First-Year Enrollment rose to 52,000 in 2010, likely because more students were hoping to ride out the recession in law school (there was a rise in applicants and applications as well).

Since then, recent grads have been unable to find work and the J.D. unemployment rate is hovering around fifty percent. As a result of all the bad news, applications, and the newly created seats, have dropped.

That's a lot of wavering numbers, but here is the stat that tells the story best: in 2004, there were 98,700 applicants at this time of the year, chasing 48,200 seats. Today, there are 55,764 applicants for about the same number of seats (the final tally won't be available until after the school year commences).

If this is the absolute worst time to graduate law school, it might be one of the best times to apply (other than that whole no job prospects issue).

As for the future, Georgetown's Dean of Admissions Andrew Cornblatt told the Washington Post that the school did not decrease seats for this year, but the school's long-range planning committee may do so for future years. On the other hand, George Washington University already did, twice in two years, and now has its smallest entering class in a decade. 

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