Expected difficulty of the 2020 application cycle

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Will 2020 be a easier or harder cycle for new applicants?

It will be a easier cycle.
9
13%
It will be a harder cycle.
30
43%
Probably about the same.
15
21%
Hard to say.
16
23%
 
Total votes: 70

mandrewsf

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Expected difficulty of the 2020 application cycle

Post by mandrewsf » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:59 pm

While considering law school, I am wondering if 2020 will be a particularly easy or particularly difficult cycle for applicants, given the interesting times in which we find ourselves. On one hand you could argue that given that the job market looks pretty crappy, paying $150,000 for a degree in the hopes that the economy will recover in time by the time new law students need to job hunt isn't a good idea, but on the other hand, a lot of new graduates who couldn't find jobs will be pushed back into school. So will the forces balance each other out? If you have your own take, let's hear it too.

I did find it interesting that the 2009-10 cohort of law students was one of the largest on record, but the flood very quickly became a trickle once the recession's devastation on the law industry became clear.

The Lsat Airbender

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Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:34 pm

Re: Expected difficulty of the 2020 application cycle

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:24 pm

Probably harder than usual, mainly because of people deferring to next year and forcing schools to throttle new admits to avoid over-enrollment.

BrainsyK

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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:37 am

Re: Expected difficulty of the 2020 application cycle

Post by BrainsyK » Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:22 pm

mandrewsf wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:59 pm
While considering law school, I am wondering if 2020 will be a particularly easy or particularly difficult cycle for applicants, given the interesting times in which we find ourselves. On one hand you could argue that given that the job market looks pretty crappy, paying $150,000 for a degree in the hopes that the economy will recover in time by the time new law students need to job hunt isn't a good idea, but on the other hand, a lot of new graduates who couldn't find jobs will be pushed back into school.
At the top schools, I think that the the former force will be stronger based on what happened during the great financial crisis. In fact, it pushes LSAT/GPA ranges to all the time highs at the T14s last time. As much as I hear people saying that they'll defer if schools go virtual, I've yet to see it actually happen--not to say that it won't be a significant force--but I think that it won't be as impactful as some predict it to be.

It kind of seems to be me, though I recognize that there are other perspectives on this, incredibly obvious that online 1L won't make that much of a difference mainly for two reasons. First, for the last... decade at least, top law school admission has been a game where the school lends their name to applicants in exchange for exorbitant amounts of money for a chance at the biglaw lottery, which come with very favorable odds even in a bad economy and perhaps especially so in a bad economy and especially especially so in this kind of bad economy where liberal arts grads from with more brains than common sense who would've otherwise done retail no longer have that option and instead take a test which has a heavy verbal IQ component, which they were good at anyway thus they went into liberal arts, and roll their dice with the government's money. Second, online school will impact everyone. Are there specific demographics that it will hurt more? Absolutely, but at the top schools, there's a logjam of talent waiting to take the place of anyone who defers.

This is only for the top schools, and there are obviously exceptions to this in terms of people who are hardcore PI, but the majority of any given T14 class goes biglaw so that's, in my opinion, the major driver of decisions. Overall, yeah, the JD pool will probably start shrinking as salaries probably won't increase for a while, and since tuition and dollar inflation still occurs, law will seem worse and worse of a value proposition over time, driving down numbers in the applicant pool.

jackedimuschadimus

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Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:08 pm

Re: Expected difficulty of the 2020 application cycle

Post by jackedimuschadimus » Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:35 pm

I think it will be harder in the lower-ranked schools, think T50 and below, with little to no impact on T14/T20 admissions. To be a viable candidate for T20 and above, you really need a 165+ on the LSAT, and I don't think that's a score that people who decide to go to law school on a whim (those applying to law school just because they can't get a job now) can achieve. I feel that people smart enough to hit 165+ without studying very much are also smart enough to have other job opportunities, which further shrinks the prospective T20 pool.

Hence, all the competition is at the lower-ranked schools, there being a lot more 150's and 140's this cycle.

Also, there are deferrals, sure, but law schools are also in a pinch right now financially. Their number one revenue source is tuition checks, and it seems reasonable to me that they'd have to increase their class sizes to balance their books, which limits the effect of deferrals on next cycle.

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