Tuesday, May 1, 2018

SMH, LSAC Applicants 2018 Edition

We are now at the 90% point for applicant count in this particular cycle, and for those looking to see a reduction in the applicant numbers, the news is not good. It appears that the cycle for 2018 is lining-up to be virtually identical to the 2013 cycle, which we have not seen in, well...five years. Applicants are up approximately 8% compared to 2017, and as of this date are at approximately 54,000 total.

One last quibble - LSAC has been consistently over-predicting the percentage increase by several percent over the course of this cycle. As has been detailed previously, and has happened again this year, the explanation can be tied to matching up data from cycle to cycle. If LSAC chooses to go two weeks without reporting data (which sometimes happens), that's fine...but then, when you do report data, you need to make sure you "skip a week" to do the apples-to-apples comparison properly with the prior cycle. That can be the difference between saying applications are up 8% on one particular week, when in reality, it is closer to 2% for that same time last year.


But enough of that, because (1) it has been documented, and (2) ironically, the "misreported" percentage differences are proving to be correct now that we are late in the cycle. That is, an actual 8% increase over last year currently (the following charts also predict the rest of the cycle after Week 22.  In addition, these curves are the fitted data curves, and the data points themselves are not shown so as to see the trends more clearly). Why is this happening?   More below the fold:


One, it was probably bound to happen soon anyway as part of a natural cycle. The last few years (especially 2016) were dismal for the Law School Cartel. Now, a new "crop" of young people have moved their way through undergraduate school, and are likely not that tuned-in to the state of the legal industry. Law School sounds cool! Why not do it? When you watch TV, all lawyers are rich, so the decision is easy. And the Cartel does next to nothing to dissuade these misplaced notions, so it's all gumdrops and rainbows and dolphins except for those truly in the know. While the youngest among us do share some responsibility by "doing their research" (especially in this on-line, all-the-time world where the data is easy to come by), I still believe that experienced folk with actual knowledge have some duty to warn.
Speaking of data, here is some nicely summarized data here. Lawyers are still heavily overproduced, if anyone cares to look.   

Two, I think there is a real existential question at work here, which is laid out by this prior post on OTLSS:


So what is the recommendation? As hard as it is for those with non-stem college degrees, it is a lot harder for those who just have high school degrees. State government jobs are drying up too...everything is drying up. We have a false economy... sure lower employment, but all of those jobs out there are lower paying service jobs...somebody needs two of them to make a living....and speaking of bubbles... the Stock Market is just waiting for a huge deflation. Amazon a 300 plus PE ratio? Are you kidding me?


What is it indeed? A later commenter points to the trades as a solution, and in some respects that is probably true. However, jobs such as "the trades" are not full of sugarplum fairies either and have their own idiosyncratic drawbacks, along with many, many other careers. What are college educated people supposed to turn to, when "every major is terrible?" And don't we want an "educated" populace? We said we did, at least once upon a Boomer time ago. Unfortunately, the market is increasingly not supporting an educated populace, which I submit generates another host of difficulties. Scamblogs like OTLSS saying "don't go to law school," while good advice for many, is admittedly weak without being able to provide at least one sound alternative. At least we are willing to recognize our own shortcomings, I guess, as opposed to those who peddle false hope for dollars.

One thing is for sure - just as you really can't pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, neither will we magically "innovate" our way out of this conundrum. The only sure advice, at this juncture, is "don't follow the crowd." Unfortunately, a new class of applicants have yet to learn this lesson. Don't go to law school because you weren't able to come up with any other alternative - that is, in fact, the worst reason of all.


  1. Thank you for enriching our lives with your perspicacity. I'm sure Old Man will agree.

  2. And this is why Nando and every other scam blogger tends to give up after awhile. There will be a day this one also goes.

    1. It does seem pointless to continue. It was just a couple of years ago that the headlines screamed "The Wrong People Have Stopped Applying to Law School" with articles duly noting that the smart kids weren't applying to law school and that just about every law school in the country was lowering its standards and accepting those who would have not been accepted a few years before.
      But with the data above, it's clear that there are plenty of dolts to fill the law school classes and fill the scammers' coffers. And we should all be as mad as hell about it, since the scammers get the money, the students don't get jobs and can't pay the loans back, and the taxpayers get left holding the bag.
      There are just too many new college grads with worthless BAs who decide to go to law school because they literally have nothing better to do.
      So yeah, I'm not surprised that bloggers give up. Actually, I'm surprised the blogs have lasted this long. It's clear that there are thousands who won't listen, and will never listen. It's hopeless.

    2. For the past several years I have refused to cry for recent students and graduates of law schools. I haven't yet supported a lawsuit brought by a student or a profe$$or against a law school. There's more than enough information about the law-school scam. People who don't heed it have only themselves to blame.

    3. https://abovethelaw.com/2018/05/women-are-flocking-to-law-school-thanks-to-donald-trump/

      It looks like maybe the "Trump bump" is real? Another wave of applicants who want to "make a difference" and "advocate for social change," apparently unaware how rare and difficult it is to actually get paid to do those things. Also unaware that you can make a difference without giving up 3 years of your life and going 100-200K in debt.

    4. Dolphins one day...Donald Trump the next...this too shall pass. The Cartel laughs all the way to the bank in the meantime.

    5. "Women heading to law school b/c of Trump..."

      Dec. 2016:


      Wash, rinse, repeat. 2 months until our next article about black enrollment. Set your watches, buckos.

    6. Data from the top feeder schools show the elite students no longer applying to ABA schools. The following shows a massive decline (2004 through 2017) from the elite undergrad universities (I chose 67 of them). It shows a decline of 60% ! The best students are no longer applying to law school, while at the same time the number of lawyers practicing inches up. https://imgur.com/bbzjBzZ

    7. I disagree: The scamblog movement has been very successful; by smart kids not going to law school, there is a huge image and bar standard issue.

      Additionally, for people out of high school for 15 years or so, they do not understand the low quality of students as a function of demography, no familiarity with American institutions and their scamminess, as well as low socio-economic profile.

      These kids and their families have more in common with the low-level saviness of Brazil. They are functionally illiterate, their parents never picked up a book or went to college, learning is disdained with the resultant mental stunting.

      I left a very rewarding and financially stable job as a New York suburban school (no longer a guarantee of good students) because the students were so inept and unrowdy, that it was a threat to my professional career. High school is not what it used to be.

      If the law school deans are reliant on refugees, baby mommas, Walmart tax credit families, good luck to them. The bell will toll.
      Keep the scam blog going, even if the material is not as good as it was. Schools are closing, pigs are out on their ass. The shysters at the Bar are squirming--and, yes, the best of us and the rump crop of the best of America's youth are avoiding the scam, leading proper lives.

  3. When did Above The Law become garbage-tier Buzzfeed for lawyers?

  4. The only tears ought to be saved for taxpayers. There are no jobs for these new lawyers, so no loans get paid back. The scammers stay fat, and the taxpayers get the bill, since they funded this mess.

    1. 1) The students going to law school "to make a difference" and advocate for social change" are so stupid that they probably won't pass the Bar Exam anyway, and will find themselves belittled by a judge if they do every before in front of one. I have been practicing law for over 20 years and know of what I speak. Back when I attended law school those dummies could usually find some kind of a job somewhere, maybe at the Public Defender's Office, but that was decades ago. 2) The loans aren't going to be paid back. Most colleges are scams too. Some no longer require the SAT or any similar entrance exam, and charge astronomical tuition for joke "learning". The lenders, the borrowers, and the beneficiaries, the schools themselves, all know that the so-called "student loans" will never be repaid.