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Slide in Law School Demand Continues; LSAT Takers Down 45 Percent

By William Peacock, Esq. on November 01, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Good news! If you're applying to law school, you're probably going to be facing even less competition. We've now seen a few years of sliding demand, with fewer applicants and lowering admissions standards at our nation's far-too-many schools. Of course, schools were probably hoping, wishing, and praying that demand had hit rock bottom, and that a recovery was coming.

No such luck, it seems. According to data provided by the Law School Admissions Counsel (LSAC) to The Wall Street Journal, the number of LSATs administered in October is down 45 percent since October 2009. Of course, that was the "oh crap, a recession, let's wait it out in law school," spike in LSATs and law school applications, but other numbers show that it's more than a statistical oddity.

This is the fewest tests since October 1998, and the second-fewest since the mid-1980s. Think about how many law schools have opened in that time, including UC Erwin (er, Irvine). Yeah. Many more schools, many more seats, and way less demand.

Who This Helps

Applicants, obviously. Fewer applicants means less competition, not only for seats in law school, but for scholarships. And trust us, if you're paying full price for law school at this point, you really, really shouldn't go to law school.

If you want to be a lawyer, even with the dismal outlook for the industry, you need to take and kill the LSAT. Fortunately, with fewer test-takers, and schools reluctant to cut seats, "killing it" may mean a few fewer points than previous years.

Who This Hurts

Law schools, obviously. If there are a few fewer test takers today, that means a few fewer applicants tomorrow. With schools fighting over the shrinking customer base, that means the outlook, in terms of admissions standards, and money spent on scholarships to maintain those standards, is poor.

It's Not Just October

Take a look at the chart on the LSAC's website. Since the 2009-2010 "wait out the recession" spike, every single test administration has been down year-over-year, usually by double-digit percentages. In June 2010, there were 32,973 test takers. In 2013, there were 23,997.

For the entire 2009-2010 cycle, there were 171,514 tests administered. In the 2012-2013 cycle, that number plummeted to 112,515. The latest October numbers show that the trend is likely to continue through the current 2013-2014 cycle, and perhaps beyond.

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