Well, this is a completely unexpected result. What started off as a strong showing for the current cycle has since petered-out into a rehash of last year, if not more so. To be fair, I would argue that the year-to-year comparison is 3% above last year as opposed to 1%, but the fact remains.
As readers know I like the "velocity" chart, so I am pulling that up again. In 2012, the Million-Dollar-Express rocketed up to more than 3,000 applicants/week by Week 8, to glide back down in a graceful parabolic curve thereafter. I would argue that this shows interest was "strong", and the numbers back it up in that the total applicant count was the highest of all. Later years showed a more modest trajectory - the end results, while less, were respectable, but definitely showed decreased interest. 2016 was the nadir - instead of a moon shot, the curve looked more like a cannon shot. Long and flat, which would indicate minimal interest in applying to law school.
2017 and 2018 seemed to show renewed interest, tracking the performance of prior years. But this year has shown the lowest-trajectory yet, which I still find very surprising given the initial stronger start.
What does this mean? Well, the area under a flat curve can equal the area under a tall curve (that is to mean, total applicant count can be similar in both instances), but we have yet to see anything rival 2012. What started as something similar to 2012 and 2013 has instead become worse than 2016 despite recent comebacks. Total applicants will still likely reach somewhere around 60,000, but this is much less that was initially indicated earlier in the cycle.
Perhaps people are still getting the message after all: that a JD is not a sure-fire path to riches or saving dolphins, but a form of modern-day indentured-servitude that few will be able to get out from underneath in any reasonable time frame. To the extent that this represents a long-overdue market correction, we of the scamblog movement welcome this as the much-needed medicine that has been avoided for a long time. 0Ls, do your research, as this may be the best time to wait a year or more, if not scrapping the idea altogether.