The Legal Beat
The Law School Brain Drain Continues To Wreak Havoc
Posted on Tuesday June 13, 2017
Hot on the heels of the news that students with terrible LSAT scores are applying to law school in droves comes an update from the Law School Admission Council that there are fewer applicants seeking law school admission for the upcoming academic year. As of June 2, 52,853 applicants sent 343,393 applications to ABA-accredited law schools for the 2017-18 academic year. While applications are up by 1.4 percent, the number of applicants has dropped by 0.5 percent.
As we previously discussed, the number of law school applicants with LSAT scores of less than 150 has increased by 146 percent over the course of the past 10 years. This is distressing for a number of reasons, and Dean Paul Caron of Pepperdine Law told Karen Sloan of Law.com as much in this interview:
“It’s not a great thing for the profession or for law schools when the best and the brightest are not going to law schools in the same proportion that they have gone in the past,” Caron said in an interview Monday. He said that it’s not a surprise that if LSAT scores are down, three years later, students are having a harder time passing the bar.
“It’s not a ringing endorsement for the profession,” he said.
What is to be done about the law school brain drain? According to Dean Caron, it’s up to law schools to make the legal profession more appealing to millennials. That might not be an easy task, given recent graduates’ inability to pass the bar exam coupled with their burgeoning debt loads. How many recent law grads would recommend going to law school? The answer, we fear, is not many.
Until the wisest of millennials can be convinced that law school is worth the high cost, we may continue to feed the cycle of dismal bar exam passage rates, producing yet another generation of unhappy, unemployed, or underemployed law school graduates. This does not bode well for anyone.
- Law School Applications With Terrible LSAT Scores Are Soaring
- The Law Schools With The Most Unemployed Graduates (2016)
- The Law Schools With The Most Underemployed Graduates (2016)
- Where Have All Of The Happy Lawyers Gone?
Staci Zaretsky has been an editor at Above the Law since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.