Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

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NR3C1
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Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby NR3C1 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:08 pm

"Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012" by The Law School Tuition Bubble:

http://lawschooltuitionbubble.wordpress ... s-in-2012/

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I love this website/blog. It actually contains data and analysis.

Looks like this year applicants will be -16% compared to last.

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LSAT Blog
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby LSAT Blog » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:59 pm

Wow, that's a great post. I did one this afternoon, but only about the updated applicant/application numbers.

The percentage decrease estimates on LSAC's website are adjusted for the projection that the current data (as of 3/30) reflects 91% of the total. In other words, we'll likely see close to a 15.6% decrease in applicants and a 13.6% decrease in applications submitted.

Interesting that the number of applications submitted hasn't decreased as much as the number of applicants has. In other words, although there are fewer applicants, the average applicant is applying to a greater number of schools... :)

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dingbat
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby dingbat » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:43 am

LSAT Blog wrote:Wow, that's a great post. I did one this afternoon, but only about the updated applicant/application numbers.

The percentage decrease estimates on LSAC's website are adjusted for the projection that the current data (as of 3/30) reflects 91% of the total. In other words, we'll likely see close to a 15.6% decrease in applicants and a 13.6% decrease in applications submitted.

Interesting that the number of applications submitted hasn't decreased as much as the number of applicants has. In other words, although there are fewer applicants, the average applicant is applying to a greater number of schools... :)

I suspect that a big drop-off is among the subset of applicants who only apply to one or two schools. This is IMO either career switchers or people at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale, who instead of going to LS need to work to provide an income for their family

It also wouldn't surprise me if more applicants are casting a wider net, 1) because schollys are more important (bad economy) and 2) because those applicants who research it see that apps were down last year and are down again this year, so they try for a few more Hail Mary applications, hoping that the schools' averaged will be a little lower this year

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dingbat
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby dingbat » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:54 am

It's interesting that in the 160-175 range, the drop off is disproportionally high, considering the LSAT distribution is (supposed to be) a bell curve.

LOLyer
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby LOLyer » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:04 am

dingbat wrote:It's interesting that in the 160-175 range, the drop off is disproportionally high, considering the LSAT distribution is (supposed to be) a bell curve.


Interesting, sure, but explainable by a smaller standard deviation.

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dingbat
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby dingbat » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:54 am

LOLyer wrote:
dingbat wrote:It's interesting that in the 160-175 range, the drop off is disproportionally high, considering the LSAT distribution is (supposed to be) a bell curve.


Interesting, sure, but explainable by a smaller standard deviation.

That doesn't mesh with a smaller decrease at the bottom end of the LSAT and an expected decrease at the remaining categories (most notably the 175+ range)

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bizjunkie4
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby bizjunkie4 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:49 pm

Applications are down at Louisville, where I am a 3L, but my understanding is that the school has decided to admit a correspondingly smaller number of students to ensure that our LSAT/GPA medians stay the same. Hence, the incoming class in fall 2012 will be around 110-115, instead of 130-135. This is probably a good thing: smaller class sizes, less competition for jobs, etc.

LadyDiabolyn
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby LadyDiabolyn » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:04 pm

Yet every letter I've received tells me this was one of the most competitive years, ever. I love it. haha.

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splitbrain
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby splitbrain » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:05 pm

LadyDiabolyn wrote:Yet every letter I've received tells me this was one of the most competitive years, ever. I love it. haha.

+1 I had such a weird cycle

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KevinP
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby KevinP » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:17 pm

I don't get how this has had such a small, if that, effect. Even with schools cutting class sizes, the decline over the past 2 years has been pretty significant.

(I posted this in another thread)
Here are data and the analysis on these data that I thought was interesting:
The 175+ (highest LSAT) group last year saw an overall decline of 24%, so the lower 13.6% decline this year (YTD) isn't entirely unexpected. Assuming the 13.6% decline holds for the remainder of the year, the average decline over the course of the last 2 years would be 34.3% for the 175+ applicants.

Surprisingly, the 170-174 group only saw a decline of 7.5% last year. This year the decline is (YTD) 20.7%. Assuming the 20.7% decline holds, the average decline over the last 2 years would be 26.5% for 170-174 applicants.

When taken in context of the expected 24.1% decline over the course of 2 years, both these numbers confirm my suspicion that the top scorers (170+) are forgoing law school faster than some of the other groups. The interesting thing is that I haven't really seen the elite law schools becoming more lenient (according to LSN) towards applicants, with a few exceptions of course. I think we may not see the effects of the decline until May, when schools start taking people off the waitlist.

tl;dr: Law schools lose more than 1/4 (relatively close to 1/3) of their 170+ applicant pool over 2 years and act as if everything is okay, but I suspect reality will set in for them come waitlist time.

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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby MrAnon » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:20 pm

Quality of applicants down = firms don't even bother with lower T14 anymore = gives firms excuse to hire even fewer students = students at lower T14 unable to find jobs

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dingbat
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby dingbat » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:22 pm

KevinP wrote: Law schools lose more than 1/4 (relatively close to 1/3) of their 170+ applicant pool over 2 years and act as if everything is okay, but I suspect reality will set in for them come waitlist time.

I hope you're right

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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby nkp007 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:26 pm

dingbat wrote:
KevinP wrote: Law schools lose more than 1/4 (relatively close to 1/3) of their 170+ applicant pool over 2 years and act as if everything is okay, but I suspect reality will set in for them come waitlist time.

I hope you're right


Good analysis. I would bet the majority of my net worth that you are right. If not this cycle, then most likely next.

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KevinP
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby KevinP » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:16 pm

MrAnon wrote:Quality of applicants down = firms don't even bother with lower T14 anymore = gives firms excuse to hire even fewer students = students at lower T14 unable to find jobs

I disagree that firms won't bother with the lower T14. I think only Cornell would be affected now that the lowest of the T14 and therefore outed as the TTT it is really is. GULC, since it is now a T13 and will therefore attract new firms in droves, should be safe.
Last edited by KevinP on Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MrAnon
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby MrAnon » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:22 pm

Look at the hiring dropoff that occurred at the lower T14 following 2008. It speaks plainly that firms are not overwhelmed with the grads from these schools. Now you are going to stuff the same schools full of lower quality students, which partners are reading about at this very moments on NLJ.com, same as you, so they care even less about these schools. If they even bother to show up at OCI down the road, they'll talk to a few students and from the lower general intelligence level that is displayed they'll be certain these are not the type of students they need in bigfirms.

It simply doesn't follow that with lower quality students making it into law schools that firms will still hire at the same levels, even if those levels are depressed already. The firms will just come out and say they don't like what they are seeing and use it as an excuse to hire less and keep costs down, which is what they want in the end anyway.

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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby MrAnon » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:25 pm

additionally it offers firms an excuse to lower pay. They are no longer competing for top talent. Top talent is off in other industries.

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KevinP
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby KevinP » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:42 pm

^ What would you say would be a safe cutoff then? T9 excluding public schools (Berkeley, Penn, UVA)?

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Nelson
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby Nelson » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:44 pm

KevinP wrote:^ What would you say would be a safe cutoff then? T9 excluding public schools (Berkeley, Penn, UVA)?

You're taking him seriously?

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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby bernaldiaz » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:46 pm

dingbat wrote:
KevinP wrote: Law schools lose more than 1/4 (relatively close to 1/3) of their 170+ applicant pool over 2 years and act as if everything is okay, but I suspect reality will set in for them come waitlist time.

I hope you're right


My hope is that these drops, while as we have seen this cycle have not helped splitters out quite like we predicted, will sort of force schools to be less selective with the students who are above both medians. I'll have a 3.99/174 but relatively weak softs and will be straight K-JD. While I have seen some people with these numbers get dinged at HArvard (it seems like 75% chance of getting in), I am hoping that Harvard will sort of have less wiggle room and will need (probably too strong of a word, but w/e) me more than they did in the past.

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dingbat
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby dingbat » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:46 pm

MrAnon wrote:Look at the hiring dropoff that occurred at the lower T14 following 2008. It speaks plainly that firms are not overwhelmed with the grads from these schools. Now you are going to stuff the same schools full of lower quality students, which partners are reading about at this very moments on NLJ.com, same as you, so they care even less about these schools. If they even bother to show up at OCI down the road, they'll talk to a few students and from the lower general intelligence level that is displayed they'll be certain these are not the type of students they need in bigfirms.

It simply doesn't follow that with lower quality students making it into law schools that firms will still hire at the same levels, even if those levels are depressed already. The firms will just come out and say they don't like what they are seeing and use it as an excuse to hire less and keep costs down, which is what they want in the end anyway.

I call BS
Firms hire based on their need (demand) not the availability of talent (supply)
If the economy rebounds and the demand for legal services increases, they'll hire as needed.
If they feel the talent pool has decreased, they'll start paying even more to attract top talent.

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Mr. Somebody
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby Mr. Somebody » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:52 pm

KevinP wrote:
MrAnon wrote:Quality of applicants down = firms don't even bother with lower T14 anymore = gives firms excuse to hire even fewer students = students at lower T14 unable to find jobs

I disagree that firms won't bother with the lower T14. I think only Cornell would be affected now that the lowest of the T14 and therefore outed as the TTT it is really is. GULC, since it is now a T13 and will therefore attract new firms in droves, should be safe.


Wouldn't Cornell and Penn's ivy league prestige mitigate this effect somewhat?

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kennethellenparcell
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby kennethellenparcell » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:56 pm

MrAnon wrote:additionally it offers firms an excuse to lower pay. They are no longer competing for top talent. Top talent is off in other industries.


This I agree with, mostly because there is more supply than demand at this point. Firms can afford to wait until OCI is over and then pick up leftover people at a lower price - because there will still be enough students from good schools to go around. However, I think any firm that does this is led by poor business decision-makers.

I disagree with your other point. Northwestern was pretty high on this year's NLJ list, and is considered a lower t14 school. I mean, the economy smacked every school in the face and they all suffered. I know kids at Harvard who had a hard time. I also don't think it's going to be much easier to get into a t14, despite the decrease in applications. There are still significantly more applicants than there are slots for the t14. In fact, I think all the negative press leads to prospective law school students thinking more carefully about whether or not to make the huge investment. I know several kids fresh from undergrad who re-evaluated their decision to apply straight from college and decided to get work experience in the legal field. In that sense, future applicants may arguably be BETTER.

The economy forced many kids straight from undergrad with little experience in the legal field and not much of an idea of what being an attorney entails to apply to law school to "wait out" the bad times. I'm not sure you can argue that future applicants will be of "lower intelligence." I think taking on a small mortgage to "wait out" the economy is a terrible, terrible decision. If anything, top schools will probably decrease class sizes so as not to have to decrease their medians too much.

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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby muddup » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:10 pm

Mr. Somebody wrote:
KevinP wrote:
MrAnon wrote:Quality of applicants down = firms don't even bother with lower T14 anymore = gives firms excuse to hire even fewer students = students at lower T14 unable to find jobs

I disagree that firms won't bother with the lower T14. I think only Cornell would be affected now that the lowest of the T14 and therefore outed as the TTT it is really is. GULC, since it is now a T13 and will therefore attract new firms in droves, should be safe.


Wouldn't Cornell and Penn's ivy league prestige mitigate this effect somewhat?


Can anyone respond to this?

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KevinP
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby KevinP » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:11 pm

Nelson wrote:You're taking him seriously?

KevinP wrote:^ What would you say would be a safe cutoff then? T9 excluding public schools (Berkeley, Penn, UVA)?


Mr. Somebody wrote:Wouldn't Cornell and Penn's ivy league prestige mitigate this effect somewhat?

Good point. I also forgot that Cornell has a really strong international law program.

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Nelson
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Re: Fewer Quality Law School Applicants in 2012

Postby Nelson » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:15 pm

KevinP wrote:
Nelson wrote:You're taking him seriously?

KevinP wrote:^ What would you say would be a safe cutoff then? T9 excluding public schools (Berkeley, Penn, UVA)?


Mr. Somebody wrote:Wouldn't Cornell and Penn's ivy league prestige mitigate this effect somewhat?

Good point. I also forgot that Cornell has a really strong international law program.

Er. My bad. Whoosh.




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