Number of LSAT Test-Takers Increased in February 2015

The Law School Admission Council just released the number of February 2015 LSAT-takers, and it's quite a surprise.

After over four years of (virtually) steady decline* in the number of LSAT test-takers, the number has increased significantly. Specifically, it increased by 4.4% year-over-year - from 19,499 to 20,358.

Many prospective law school applicants have been dissuaded over the past few years by news about changing prospects in the legal market. Three years ago, the number of LSAT test-takers actually hit a 10-year-low.

Now, suddenly, things appear to be moving in the opposite direction - at least to some extent.


My guess is that many prospective applicants now believe that it will be easier to get into law school because it is less attractive to others. In other words, the decline in law school applications (and news about this decline) has actually led to an increase in the number of LSAT-takers (and may eventually lead to an increase in the number of law school applicants.

I believe that, by now, most LSAT-takers and law school applicants applicants are aware of the risks involved in taking on law school debt, given the current employment landscape. However, some may believe they are exceptions to the rule, and/or that the decline in applicants will make it easier to get into a higher-ranked law school.

For many recent college graduates (especially those majoring in the humanities), there still aren't a lot of great employment options. Given the ease of securing government loans for higher education, the number of law school applicants may actually rebound as people knowingly go to law school, despite awareness of the risks involved.

*While the number of LSAT-takers also increased year-over-year in February and December 2014, those changes were within what most would probably consider a reasonable margin of error - only 1.1% and 0.8%, respectively. See the full chart from LSAC here:


  1. Interesting. Do you think it might be because more people are retaking. On forums, people seem aware that sticker price is a bad bet, and retaking is now not an issue admissions wise.

    If the Sept/Oct or June numbers go up, that will be a much stronger signal. I'd still expect some declines there though for another year at least.

  2. I think Graeme may be making an excellent point. It seems to me that more established attorneys of a different Law School era graduated in early 2000s and before had a more flippant attitude towards the LSAT(Totally taken from my personal interactions). Take it once, do alright and go, no problem to it. While now it seems the majority of my peers who are either just in Law School or applying seem to realize that it is crucial to make yourself highly competitive with a solid score. So maybe the annual Law School intake numbers normalize sub 40000, but the test numbers go up as people start taking the test at least twice.

    Furthermore, many of the test-takers will choose not to even bother applying. Alhough they may take the LSAT on a punt, they won't look at a quarter million of debt the same way.

  3. I do think more people are retaking, but I don't think that's necessarily a new trend specific to this past February (or even the past few LSAT administrations). I think the increase in retaking has been a gradual adjustment over the past few years to the fact that most, if not all, law schools are now only considering the highest LSAT scores in admission decisions.

    Of course, an increase in Sept/Oct or June numbers would strengthen the signal that more people are actually going to apply this coming fall.

  4. I think this is pure marketing for the LSAT and those who teach it. We want the average of the entire year, not one month + it could clearly be that students are retaking the exam. It doesn't mean that they are welling to spend thousands of $$ on law schools where the market is very dry.

    A Trader, Computer Science, Dentist or a Doctor would be a better and more secure career than a lawyer.

    I do believe LSAT takers will decline year after year and time will prove it. If someone wants to work in the legal field, he could well become a paralegal. But spending up to 200k on law school just to come out with debts on your shoulder, isn't pretty fun situation to be in.

    In the past, many states use to pay for undergrad, now current students, take up straight loans to get into undergrad schools, grants and scholarship doesn't cover anymore the complete 4 years.

    Now imagine someone with already debts, adding more to get into law school. I doubt any logical person would attempt to do that and even worst if he is not lucky to secure a job at a medium or large law firm.

    There will be a definitive decline and that is for sure. Days will prove it next year.

  5. Depending on who you ask, there are either too many lawyers or not enough. Taking on that school debt has to be seriously weighed before going into law school.

  6. Could it also be that potential applicants are retaking because an increasing number of law schools are accepting applications later and later every year? In the past December was often the last opportunity an applicant had at getting the score they wanted in order to attend the following Fall; whereas now, more schools are accepting applications well into the Spring months, allowing applicants to use a February score to attend that same year.