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Number of LSAT Takers Drops to Historical Low

Four times a year, like clockwork, LSAC releases the number of LSATs administered on the most recent test date. This year’s no different, as they’ve just released the numbers for the September exam. And guess what: they’re down. For those of us who have been following the LSAT over the last few years, this isn’t a surprise.

30,943 aspiring lawyers took the most recent exam. That’s down 8.1% from last year in the same time period. More significantly, it’s down a pretty insane 49.1% from the 60,746 who took the LSAT in October 2009. Think about that for a second. That’s an incredible steep decline in only five years.

Even more astoundingly, it’s the fewest recorded September/October test-takers since LSAC began publishing results in 1987. Back then, Ronald Reagan was president. The Billboard music charts featured Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” and Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again.” Apple Computer was mainly known for making these. Cell phones looked like this. 75 million fewer people lived in the U.S. And still, more people took the autumn LSAT.

What does this mean for you, a potential law school applicant? The good news is that it’s getting easier to get into law school. And perhaps just as importantly, there’s less competition for scholarships. The continued decline in LSAT administrations means that the number of law school applicants isn’t exactly on its way up any time soon. And since law schools aren’t yet closing en masse, admissions will continue to be less competitive than they were a few years ago.

But anyone applying to law school should be aware of the reason for the decline in LSAT administrations and law school applications: the job prospects for graduates of many law schools haven’t been great over the last few years. Thanks in part to the ongoing decline in law school applications, the picture may look better soon. But it’s still really important that you do your research and pick a school with a good record of placing its alumni in well-paying jobs.