Law Schools

Increase in LSAT test takers is seen as evidence of 'Trump bump'

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President Donald Trump. Drop of Light /

The number of people taking the Law School Admission Test has increased this year, leading some to suggest the increase is driven by a “Trump bump.”

Would-be law students who are either buoyed by President Donald Trump or who oppose his policies see law school as a way to make a difference, the Chicago Tribune reports.

As evidence, the article cites statistics on the increase in people taking the Law School Admissions Test compared to the same time last year. The increase was 5.4 percent in February, 19.8 percent in June, and 10.7 percent in September. As of Oct. 30, the number of registrations for the December exam was 21.4 percent above the total at the same time last year.

Some legal educators say Trump’s travel ban has been one reason behind the increased interest. Lynn Page, a pre-law adviser at Northwestern University, tells the Tribune she has been seeing many students interested in law school, especially in the areas of immigration, environmental and public-interest law.

Amanda Noascono, assistant dean and director of admissions at DePaul University College of Law, sees another reason for increased interest in law school: Law schools are doing a better job of marketing themselves. She also notes that people are no longer limited in how often they can take the LSAT during a two-year period.

Law schools contacted by the Tribune wouldn’t reveal whether the increased interest in the LSAT was translating into higher law school applications. But Don Rebstock, associate dean of strategic initiatives at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, offered a hint.

“It is still quite early in the process but I can say that we are outpacing the LSAT test-taker increase,” Rebstock told the Tribune.

The Tribune points out that the legal job market may not be able to absorb an increase in students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that lawyer employment is expected to grow about 9 percent between 2016 and 2026. “But there’s a catch,” the Tribune reports. “More people are graduating with law degrees than there are jobs available, making for a competitive job market.”

Hat tip to TaxProf Blog.

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