Law Schools

More aspiring law students are applying to fewer schools, new LSAC data shows

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Applicants in nearly all ethnic categories have increased, according to the data released Thursday by the Law School Admission Council. Image from Shutterstock.

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, more students of color are applying to law school, according to the latest figures from the Law School Admission Council.

Applicants in nearly all ethnic categories have increased, according to the data released Thursday. The LSAC updates the data daily.

At press time, the LSAC’s information tracks information for enrollment year 2024 received through Dec. 13 and enrollment year 2023 received through Dec. 13, 2022. At press time, the only ethnicity listed in the LSAC report that did not have an increase in applicants was Puerto Rican, which had a slight decrease from 623 applicants to 617 applicants.

“We’re very pleased to see that,” Susan Krinsky, executive vice president for operations and chief of staff at the LSAC, told the ABA Journal. “We’re really delighted that the feared discouragement seems not to have happened.”

This follows the trend of the past four years, she adds, when applicants of color increased about 1% each year.

“At this moment, it is at 0.9% of 1%,” she adds. “We may see that number increase—but I don’t think we’re going to see a decrease.”

The 2024 cycle got off to a slow start after some law schools delayed making their applications live, she says. But in the past month, the numbers have caught up to previous years.

Overall, the current LSAC data shows that more aspiring law students are applying to fewer schools.

The number of applicants to ABA-approved law schools hit more than 27,000 for the 2024 enrollment year, up about 3.7% compared to 2023. However, the number of applications to date—more than 173,000—decreased about 3.5%, according to the LSAC. Compared to 2021, applicants and applications in this cycle are down about 1.5% and about 8%, respectively.

So far this cycle, 105 of the 196 law schools have had a decrease in applications over 2023.

Overall LSAT scores, meanwhile, are up about 2.3% for 2024 compared to 2023. But the percentages of those scoring under 140, as well as those over 165, have decreased.

Current numbers show that about 6,600 applicants said they are first-generation college students in 2024 compared to about 6,500 in 2023 and about 5,000 in 2020.

Geographically, the percentage of applicants from South Carolina increased the highest of any state, up about 30%, while the percentage of applicants from North Dakota decreased the most, down about 40%.

The most recent numbers show that the Mountain West region had about 9% more applicants in 2024 than 2023, with about 1,400 in 2024 compared to about 1,300 in 2023. Midwest schools also had about 9% less applications in 2024, with about 5,000, compared to about 5,500 in 2023.

At press time, applications to Alabama schools for 2024, meanwhile, decreased about 21%—the largest decrease percentage of any state, while applications to Oklahoma schools for 2024 increased by about 28%—the highest increase percentage of any state.

“Last year at this time, we had 43% of the final applicant count and 43% of the final application count,” according to the LSAC report.

Once the scores come out after the test administered in January, Krinsky anticipates another surge of applications. The number of registrants for the January test is up 13% over a year earlier, she says.

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