Friday, June 30, 2017

Applicants up 1.5% for 2017, at least according to OTLSS

Well, we are at the 97% mark on another fun-filled year of law school applications, and the year turned out more-or-less as expected.  While there was an initial burst of applicants early in the 2017 cycle, everything seemed to level out again to around 55,000 total applicants.


 
For the sake of comparison, the applicant curve looks the most like 2014 as opposed to other years.  The "math error" described in the previous post on this subject continued to hold true, so while LSAC reports a decline of 0.5% applicants, we show that applicants went up 1.5%, and you can see it if you squint at the differences in the chart above.  
From a rate-of-change-of-applicants perspective, 2017 looked a lot like 2014 as well.  2016 continues to be an anomaly compared to past years, in that the applicant rate ramped up very slowly and then declined slowly late in cycle.  In contrast, 2017 was another quick ramp/quick decline in terms of applicant rate.  We still have yet to return to anything similar to 2012 levels, regardless.
 
All in all, applications have not bounced-back for five years now.  While there are still too many people applying to law school, the message appears to be taking hold and applicants are not coming in droves either, despite declining admission standards and efforts to increase the crop by the Cartel.  This is good news for the scamblog movement, so let's keep the message going!

19 comments:

  1. Schools are starting to fold... Few more years and we should get some real results

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    1. And Appalachian, Florida Coastal, Arizona Summit, Valparaiso, Vermont, Thomas Jefferson, Florida A&M…

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  2. You're welcome, law school pigs!

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  3. Is this applications or applicants? If it is the former, does anyone have data on the number of applicants?

    Also, how does this compare to a relevant baseline, e.g., the number of college graduates, number of medical applications or applicants, etc. etc.

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  4. I think you're confused about something. Prior to the 2016 cycle, LSAC only reported applications for fall admission when it published the three-year applicant cycle data. Starting last year, LSAC started reporting applications for the entire calendar year, not just the fall cycle. So you can't compare the totals in the three-year applicant graphs either this year or last year to previous years: it's not apples to apples. (About 5% of law school applicants in recent years have applied for admission to terms other than the fall).

    In short, both fall and all-term applications continue to decline, although they've fallen much more slowly over the last three years than they did over the previous four.

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    1. Thank you for the observation. It's a good point, but I am not sure how best to cleanly account for that transition in record keeping on the part of LSAC. It seems that a small modifier should be applied to the reported figures each time (around the 5% less modifier you mention, for example) but I'm not sure how accurate that modifier would be, how it may change over time, etc.

      Open to suggestions - if nothing else, we are at least keeping a multi-year record of the values, whatever the values may prove to be.

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    2. If you can publish both sets of data for, say, 10 years, I could estimate a coefficient for you, including some estimates of its accuracy. And, I am sure that if you publish such data, others could make an estimate as well, and probably better than I could.

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    3. The only data I have comparing all-term applications to fall applications are in the post below in this thread. In both 2014 and 2015, applications for terms other than the fall made up a little more than 4% of all applications in those years. (4.3% and 4.4% respectively).

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    4. Which law schools offer the option of starting at any other time of the year? Other than Cooley, they all seem too small for multiple cohorts.

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  5. Just to clarify, in 2014, 55,700 applied for fall admission, but 58,200 applied for all terms. In 2015, 54,500 applied for fall admission but 57,000 applied for all terms. In 2016, 56,500 applied for all terms. This means the fall application totals were likely 54,000. This year, the final total for all terms is projected at 56,000, i.e., about 53,500 for all terms.

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    Replies
    1. As Carlyle might have said, fifty-six thousands, mostly fools.

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  6. I never should have gone into law. I was a goddamn fool even for applying to law school, and all the more for carrying on to the bitter end (with top marks and numerous other achievements at an élite law school) despite being tempted to drop out at several points.

    Now I can't find proper employment as a lawyer.

    God damn me for my stupidity.

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    1. Isn't Second Assistant Manager at McDonald's considered JD Advantage? Why the bad attitude?

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  7. Responding to the two commentators immediately above, applications would drop much further if the ongoing employment statistics for law school grads were available.

    It is very significant that the top law schools rely heavily on limited term jobs like clerkships and jobs with experience limits like big law firm associate. Now that the Supreme Court has denied cert in the Villarreal v RJ Reynolds case, we can expect these experience limits as to hiring lawyers to proliferate not only in law firm jobs, but also for in house jobs. Now it is totally lawful at least under federal law to refuse to hire a lawyer with more than a given number of years of experience.

    The instability of jobs in the legal profession and now the legality of experience limits that keep lawyers over the age of 40 from being hired in new jobs spells trouble for the legal profession. Instability and omnipresent experience limits on open jobs is going to make law a less and less desirable career path.

    Once you lose a job as a lawyer and you are more than a few years out of law school, the deck is stacked against you, the more experienced you are. A lot of lawyers are losing jobs today.

    Everybody is going to start to discover the dirty little secret of law - that it is very hard to stay employed as a lawyer in full-time permanent work if you hare not in the government.

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  8. I'm thinking about an IT certificate from a community college... anybody done something similar? Thoughts?

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    1. Im an applicant to law school and I am actually going to start IT certificate this fall haha.

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  9. Meanwhile, law firms continue to merge to cope with reduced demand for legal services by corporations.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/business/law-firm-mergers-are-on-a-record-pace-20170705.html

    In the link above:

    Among the mergers in the first half of this year was the acquisition by Center City’s Fox Rothschild LLP of Riddell Williams P.S., a 39-lawyer firm in Seattle, and the acquisition of a four-lawyer group in New York by Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP.

    Sounds like Fox Rothschild just acquirred 4 solo practitioners that banded together to save costs.

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  10. Out in the real world law firms continue to merge in the face of declining corporate demand for legal services.
    http://www.philly.com/philly/business/law-firm-mergers-are-on-a-record-pace-20170705.html
    An excerpt from the above link:
    Among the mergers in the first half of this year was the acquisition by Center City’s Fox Rothschild LLP of Riddell Williams P.S., a 39-lawyer firm in Seattle, and the acquisition of a four-lawyer group in New York by Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP.

    Sounds like Fox Rothschild just picked up four solos practitioner that banded together to save costs.

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