Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How Many People Take the LSAT, 2012 Edition

In case you want to know more about the numbers behind the LSAT, Zen of 180 has a whole section devoted to analyzing LSAT statistics, and we're developing a whole section of our analyzer to showcase all the relevant information about the LSAT.

In today's post, we'll take a quick look at the changes in the number of people who sit for an LSAT. The graph pretty much speaks for itself, but it's interesting to note that the rapid decline in testtakers since the Great Recession has actually only returned the numbers to their historic averages. Our predictions about the 2011-2012 application cycle were only off by a few thousand, and we're now predicting that the number of LSAT takers for the 2012-2013 cycle will stabilize at around 135,000 a year.
Zen of 180 expects the number of people taking the LSAT to return to historical averages, about 135,000 a year, after the Great Recession's historic highs.

Of course, when you take into account population growth, this means that a smaller percentage of the population is taking the first step in going to law school. That's probably a good thing for the legal industry, and will perhaps help correct the market influx of students during the recession and record growth for law firms just prior to the recession. As the NYTimes put it a while ago, and as it continues to do so--law schools and lawyers make for easy punching bags--there are a lot of schools that seem to be taking advantage of students' willingness to pay ridiculous tuitions and fees for a shot at a (biglaw) lawyer's salary:
[Many law schools are] ranked in the bottom third of all law schools in the country, but with tuition and fees now set at [nearly $50,000 a year,] charge more than Harvard. [Many have] increased the size of the class[es] by an astounding 30 percent, even as hiring in the legal profession imploded. [And, worst of all, these schools] reported in the most recent US News & World Report rankings that the median starting salary of its graduates was the same as for those of the best schools in the nation — even though most of its graduates, in fact, find work at less than half that amount.
In short, we just want to make sure that you really want to go to law school before you start the arduous task of preparing for the LSAT, even if your chances of admission are better now than they would have been during the application peak in 2009.