Law Schools See Drop in Students Taking Admissions Test
Segal, David, International Herald Tribune
The organization behind the Law School Admission Test reported that the number had dropped more than 16 percent, the largest decline in more than a decade.
U.S. legal diplomas are apparently losing luster.
The organization behind the Law School Admission Test in the United States reported Friday that the number of tests administered in this academic year had dropped more than 16 percent, the largest decline in more than a decade.
The Law School Admission Council reported that the test, the LSAT, had been given 129,925 times in 2011-12. That was well below the 155,050 of the year before and far from the peak of 171,514 in the year before that. In all, the number of test takers has fallen nearly 25 percent in the past two years.
The decline reflects a spreading view that the legal market in the United States is in terrible shape and will have a hard time absorbing the approximately 45,000 students who are expected to graduate from law school in each of the next three years. And the problem may be deep and systemic.
Many lawyers and law professors have argued in recent years that the legal market will either stagnate or shrink as technology allows more low-end legal work to be handled overseas and as corporations demand more cost-efficient fee arrangements from their firms.
That argument, and news that so many new lawyers are struggling with immense debt, is changing the way law school is perceived by undergraduates. Word is getting through that law school is no longer a safe place to sit out an economic downturn -- an article of faith for years -- and that strong grades at an above-average school no longer guarantees a six-figure job at a law firm. …