How much has law school admissions changed in the last 5 years?

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Hakki

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How much has law school admissions changed in the last 5 years?

Post by Hakki » Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:00 am

I graduated from law school 3-5 years ago.

A friend just asked if his brother could talk to me about law school admissions. Has anything really changed since then, other than some law schools now accepting the GRE? Like if I talk about LSAT/GPA medians and quartiles, and admissions being largely not holistic, does that still hold true?

Any recent developments I should know about before I talk to him?

Thanks!

BrainsyK

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Re: How much has law school admissions changed in the last 5 years?

Post by BrainsyK » Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:58 am

It went from somewhat easy to pretty tough. I'll take my law school, Columbia, as an example, but you'll see these trends across the spectrum.

In Fall 2015, LSAT range was 168/171/173. This makes sense as this was when biglaw salary was the most deflated in value because it hadn't risen since `07. Further, the economic was in full-on recovery mode so people had other options.

In Fall 2016, LSAT range was 168/172/174. This was after NYC went to $180k, but again the economy was still on fire.

In Fall 2017, LSAT range was 169/171/173. This was after Trump's election, but the people who were admitted applied before the Trump election and the economy was hot as the sun.

In Fall 2018, LSAT range was 170/172/174. This was typically the normal range for the 2000s so I considered this the "standard" range. However, GPA range was 3.63/3.75/3.84 compared to a historical ~3.6/~3.7/~3.8 so not only did the LSAT scores go back to "normal" but GPA actually went up. This was the "Trump Bump."

Now, Fall 2020, but for the fact that most law schools will be virtual, I think the best precedent to look to would be Fall 2010, near the trough of the last recession, which had an LSAT range of 170/172/175, which is about as high as it ever got as people seek to hide out in law school for a few years while things recover.

Overall, 3 (actually 4 since I didn't bother with Fall 2019) of the last 5 classes to matriculate have been weaker based on entering statistics than what is "normal." My guess is that within the increased pool of applicants caused by the GRE and the recession, the weight of which is somewhat lessened by COVID, the entering statistics will go back up again to near if not at Fall 2010 levels, which means slightly less chance of being admitted, being admitted to slightly worse schools, or receiving slightly few dollars in aid.

I do appreciate the weak matriculating classes though. It's how I got into Columbia so I can't hate on it. It would've been a reach for me if I applied in the early 2010s, but for a few years, they were taking everyone who has a 170/3.7 who applies ED, which is how I got admitted.

dvlthndr

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Re: How much has law school admissions changed in the last 5 years?

Post by dvlthndr » Thu Jun 04, 2020 12:12 pm

It’s pretty much the same. The same handful of schools *might* be worth it if you are paying full price. There is the same emphasis on LSAT/GPA. The medians may have fluctuated a bit, but nothing crazy.

Applying with the GRE might be new, but it’s not used by many people, and is still a bit of a black-box for admissions (e.g., nobody will give you a straight answer on how it impacts your chances at scholarships etc.) Outside of some weird edge-case, the standard advice is to just suck it up and take the LSAT.

Hakki

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Re: How much has law school admissions changed in the last 5 years?

Post by Hakki » Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:31 pm

BrainsyK wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:58 am
It went from somewhat easy to pretty tough. I'll take my law school, Columbia, as an example, but you'll see these trends across the spectrum.

In Fall 2015, LSAT range was 168/171/173. This makes sense as this was when biglaw salary was the most deflated in value because it hadn't risen since `07. Further, the economic was in full-on recovery mode so people had other options.

In Fall 2016, LSAT range was 168/172/174. This was after NYC went to $180k, but again the economy was still on fire.

In Fall 2017, LSAT range was 169/171/173. This was after Trump's election, but the people who were admitted applied before the Trump election and the economy was hot as the sun.

In Fall 2018, LSAT range was 170/172/174. This was typically the normal range for the 2000s so I considered this the "standard" range. However, GPA range was 3.63/3.75/3.84 compared to a historical ~3.6/~3.7/~3.8 so not only did the LSAT scores go back to "normal" but GPA actually went up. This was the "Trump Bump."

Now, Fall 2020, but for the fact that most law schools will be virtual, I think the best precedent to look to would be Fall 2010, near the trough of the last recession, which had an LSAT range of 170/172/175, which is about as high as it ever got as people seek to hide out in law school for a few years while things recover.

Overall, 3 (actually 4 since I didn't bother with Fall 2019) of the last 5 classes to matriculate have been weaker based on entering statistics than what is "normal." My guess is that within the increased pool of applicants caused by the GRE and the recession, the weight of which is somewhat lessened by COVID, the entering statistics will go back up again to near if not at Fall 2010 levels, which means slightly less chance of being admitted, being admitted to slightly worse schools, or receiving slightly few dollars in aid.

I do appreciate the weak matriculating classes though. It's how I got into Columbia so I can't hate on it. It would've been a reach for me if I applied in the early 2010s, but for a few years, they were taking everyone who has a 170/3.7 who applies ED, which is how I got admitted.
This is super helpful, thank you! Great point on the recession, I hadn't thought of that (I started law school soon after that really ended).
It’s pretty much the same. The same handful of schools *might* be worth it if you are paying full price. There is the same emphasis on LSAT/GPA. The medians may have fluctuated a bit, but nothing crazy.

Applying with the GRE might be new, but it’s not used by many people, and is still a bit of a black-box for admissions (e.g., nobody will give you a straight answer on how it impacts your chances at scholarships etc.) Outside of some weird edge-case, the standard advice is to just suck it up and take the LSAT.
Sounds good, seems like I can still speak to this! Noted on the GRE, thanks.

lawdog97

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Re: How much has law school admissions changed in the last 5 years?

Post by lawdog97 » Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:36 am

There are 250 law schools in the U.S. alone. Because of that, the top schools can afford to be picky and the bottom schools can afford to be liberal.

Tuition has gone up to ungodly amounts and people are willing to take out $150,000+ worth of debt to be an attorney and get a job that pays $50,000 a year. The lower ranked schools know this and pray on these people.

So, to answer your question, I think it is tougher to get into HYS and easier to get into Texas Southern, Cooley, etc. It really depends on how much you want to pay.

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