A majority of law schools across the United States are cutting their admissions for the second year in a row and a significant portion expect to continue the reduction in class size next year, according to the 2013 Kaplan Test Prep law school survey released Oct. 1.
The educational and career services provider annually surveys law school admissions officers. For the 2013 report, Kaplan polled admissions officers from 127 of the nation’s 203 American Bar Association-approved law schools, including 10 of the top 25 as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The poll was conducted between July and September.
The survey found 54 percent of law schools cut their entering law school classes for the 2013-2014 academic year and another 25 percent plan to do so again for the next school year. Kaplan’s 2012 survey showed 51 percent of school reducing the number in the entering class.
This coincides with a dramatic drop in law school applications from the peak of 602,300 in 2010 to 385,400 in 2013.
Looking ahead, admission officers expect the number of students applying to law school to continue to decrease. Sixty-seven percent do not anticipate that the steep, three-year decline in law school applications will be reversed during the 2013-2014 admissions cycle.
The downward trend also parallels the rise in the number of schools accepting June LSAT scores. Traditionally, law schools accepted nothing later than the February LSAT results but recently have been taking June scores, likely in an attempt to increase the applicant pools.
A startling 78 percent of law schools told Kaplan they took scores from the June 2013 LSAT for the academic year that started this fall. This is an increase from the 68 percent who used June 2012 LSAT scores for 2012 admissions.
Students entering law school will likely find a different curriculum than their predecessors. Seventy-one percent of law schools reported introducing more clinical courses and practical training into the curricula with the goal of making their graduates more practice ready.
Most law schools indicated more change is needed. A total of 78 percent of law school admissions officers think the U.S. legal education system needs to undergo significant changes to better prepare future attorneys for the changes in both employment and the profession itself.
Among the students, 87 percent of law school graduates and 79 percent of pre-law students agreed legal education needs to be revamped.