LSATs Plummet to Lowest Point in 10 Years: Could Law School Get Cheaper?

By Edward Tan, JD on March 29, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Thinking about going into law? You may want to hold onto your transcripts a bit because law school might be getting cheaper. For those of you already in law school, stop reading unless you like getting angry.

The Law School Admission Council says the number of times it administered the LSAT in the last academic year has declined for the second straight year.

In February, the number of LSAT takers was at the lowest it has been in more than 10 years.

Should this affect your decision to go to law school? And, more importantly, will this translate to cheaper law school tuition?

The answer is one of simple economics. Many of you may think of law schools as being dedicated solely to the pursuit of teaching torts and crim law. But they're still businesses. And the old adage of supply and demand still holds sway when it comes to keeping their doors open.

A lower number of LSAT takers means there's a smaller pool of viable law school candidates. This in turn means law schools will have a harder time keeping their seats full of paying 1Ls.

So what are law schools to do? Well, they'll either have to shrink their entering class sizes, open up the range of LSAT scores they'll accept, or lower their tuition. (How many of you scoffed audibly at that last suggestion?)

Chances are that most greedy law schools will vomit at the first option since it'll mean less green lining their coffers. And accepting students with lower LSAT scores might reduce a school's prestige.

So the best option may actually be a slightly lowered tuition bill. This way a law school would be able to maintain their reputation, while taking a smaller hit to their annual profits.

This is especially true for those schools residing on the lower end of the infamous U.S. News & World Report's law school rankings. They're already getting slim pickings in terms of LSAT takers.

However, potential and recent LSAT takers should note that the trickle-down effects of low LSAT numbers probably won't be seen for a while. Until then, cheaper law schools will still be a ways off. But it's nice to hope, huh?

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