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Law Schools Could Be Admitting 80 Percent of Their Applicants This Fall, Statistics Suggest

Posted Aug 9, 2012 7:45 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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If you are an aspiring law student with low grades and scores on the Law School Admission Test, this could be your year.

University of St. Thomas law professor Jerry Organ explains why in a post at the Legal Whiteboard that chronicles declining enrollments from 2010 to 2011, along with declining credentials of entering classes. He estimates that admission rates could possibly top 80 percent this fall.

Seventy-five of the 197 law schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report, or about 38 percent, suffered from triple declines in 2011—in enrollment, and test scores and grades of entering students, Organ says.

Thirty-seven schools had enrollment declines of more than 10 percent, along with declines in LSAT/GPA profiles of the entering class. They include (PDF) Duke, Illinois, George Mason and Arizona, all schools in the U.S. News top 50.

The Law School Admission Council is estimating the number of law school applicants will drop by 14.4 percent this fall. The decline in interest has been greatest among those with higher scores on the Law School Admission Test. As a result, law schools should expect further declines in enrollment and further erosion of test scores and grade point averages, Organ says.

It will also become easier to get into law school. “The admit rate will be the highest it has been this millennium, probably exceeding 75 percent and possibly exceeding 80 percent (after increasing from 55 percent to 71 percent between 2004 and 2011),” Organ says.

Organ also offers these statistics from 2011 data on the 197 ranked law schools:

• Enrollment dropped at 141 law schools.

• LSAT scores and GPAs dropped at 111 law schools.

• Although the decline in enrollment and in profiles was experienced across the board, it was more pronounced among lower ranked schools.

Also see:

ABAJournal.com: "Law Schools That Misreported Student Debt Figures to ABA, US News Are Identified"

ABAJournal.com: "ABA Task Force to Study Future of Legal Education"

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