jingosaur wrote:@Mono, not sure if you know this, but were the stats so much lower before because there were fewer candidates with good scores or because law schools just didn't care as much about the LSAT?
Yeah, law school used to be not quite as much of a numbers game. USNWR changed all that, on both the school side and the applicant side. Since 1993 (the baseline year of the 180 scale), T14 medians are up a lot, T1 medians are up marginally, and everyone else's medians are down. Schools were once black boxes and it was essentially impossible to determine "how good" at school was, which is why people used to just go to their regional schools at higher rates than they do now. I mean, T14 has always been T14 (that term has been around since at least the '60s), but the de-regionalization of law schools gave T14 a new sort of aura as a once-acceptable regionals became verboten as USNWR started ranking more and more schools.
At the same time, USNWR, being a self-fulfilling prophecy, started the numbers arms race as significantly more emphasis was placed on medians. Numbers became significant to the point where they now explain the overwhelming majority of variation in admissions decision. Basically, T14 medians are higher because the 170+ scorers are much more condensed in those schools than they would've been previously.