Is sweet spot for avoiding academic attrition at law schools a median LSAT of at least 150?
Among ABA-accredited law schools with median LSAT scores above 150, academic attrition has recently decreased. But there’s been an increase at schools with median LSAT scores below 150, Jerry Organ writes at TaxProf Blog.
Organ, a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis who frequently uses data in his academic writing, relied on Standard 509 Information Report data for his findings. At law schools where the median LSAT score is above 160, he found that academic attrition was 0.3 percent for the 2014-2015 school year, and 0.2 percent for the 2015-2016 school year.
He notes that for 2016-2017 school year, which is reflected in the most recent 509 reports, the ABA reported nontransfer attrition numbers in the same category. Previously, “academic attrition,” which describes when a law school asks someone to leave because of his or her academic performance, and “other attrition,” the category for students who weren’t at risk academically and left on their own, were reported separately.
Overall, nontransfer attrition averages at ABA-accredited law schools have increased each year, until the 2016-2017 academic years, according to Organ, and this year marked the first nontransfer decline in the last several years.
“Notably, one significant contributor to the decline in nontransfer attrition in 2016-17 was the exclusion of [Charlotte School of Law] from the calculations given its closure. (For example, had Charlotte not been included in the 2015-16 nontransfer attrition calculations, the overall nontransfer attrition rate for 2015-16 would have been 6.96 percent rather than 7.33 percent),” he wrote. “That said, even taking into account the ‘Charlotte’ factor, 2016-17 still shows the first decline in overall nontransfer attrition in the last several years.”
At law schools with median LSAT scores between 155 to 159, the average academic attrition rate for the 2014-2015 school year was 2.0 percent. For the 2015-2016 school year, it was 1.8 percent.
For law schools with median LSAT scores between 150 to 154, academic attrition for the 2014-2015 school year averaged out to 4.7 percent, and 4.6 percent for the 2015-2016 school year.
At law schools with median LSAT scores below 150 but above 145, academic attrition went from 12.7 percent for the 2014-2015 school year to 14.3 percent for the 2015-2016 school year.
And among law schools where the median LSAT score was 145 or lower, the average academic attrition rate for the 2015-2016 school year was 25.3 percent. Comparatively, the average academic attrition rate 2014-2015 school year at law schools within that 145-or-lower LSAT range was 15.6 percent.
Organ notes that for the 2010-2011 school year, only one ABA-accredited law school had a median LSAT score of 145 or less. By the 2014-2015 school year, there were 12, and the 2015-2016 school year had 10.
Regarding overall attrition for first-year law students, Organ found that for the average attrition rate or the 2014-2015 school year was 7.04 percent. For the 2016-2017 school year, it was 6.46 percent.