Law Students

LSAT profiles of current law students signal more troubles ahead; has low point been reached?

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The decline in bar-exam scores and bar-pass rates is likely to continue through 2018, given the LSAT profiles of current law students, according to a law professor who has examined the data.

However, a turnaround could be ahead for those graduating after that date, says Jerry Organ, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. Organ looks at the latest LSAT data and draws his conclusions in a post at the Legal Whiteboard. Above the Law notes his findings.

The percentage of entering law students with LSAT scores at or above 160 was 32 percent in 2015, down from 33.5 percent in 2014, 33.4 percent in 2013, 36.3 percent in 2012, 39 percent in 2011 and 40.8 percent in 2010.

Meanwhile, the percentage of entering students with scores below 150 was 23.8 percent in 2015, up from 23 percent in 2014, 22.5 percent in 2013, 19.3 percent in 2012, 15.7 percent in 2011 and 14.2 percent in 2010.

Those figures show that current law grads who will graduate through 2018 had lower LSAT profiles as entering law students than the previous two graduating classes, which have already posted lower median scores on the multistate bar exam and lower bar-pass rates.

Organ anticipates a continued decline through 2018 in median bar exam scores and bar-pass rates—unless there are increases in attrition, significant improvement in academic support programs, or improved bar prep efforts by graduates.

On a positive note, Organ notes that the number and quality of law school applicants, as measured by LSAT and undergraduate grades, appear to be on the upswing this year. “If these trends continue,” he writes, “the fall 2015 entering class may represent the ‘bottom,’ ” he writes.

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