I'm a charts-and-graphs kind of guy. Always have been. I like looking at data and trying to make sense of it.
For example, I watch the LSAC numbers with bated breath. It's a sickness, I know. But I do love the stories the data tell. For instance, did you know that the average lemming files seven applications to law school? I didn't either, till I did my own informal analysis of LSAC's data.
Yep, even with declining applicants, the slope is consistent (with R-squared values above 0.98), and 2015 appears to be right on track with prior years. In fact, I don't know why "Applications" are tracked, other than it's just "another data point". I'm more concerned with how many actual applicants there are, not how many applications they file. Anybody with time to spare can apply to seven (or 9, or 12, or 3) law schools; what I want to know is how many souls are taking the plunge, and why.
This is why Matt Leichter is a man after my own heart. He has been faithfully recording applicant and application data for years (as LSAC only ever shows the most recent three), doing data analysis of all kinds along the way, and in my book he's a hero for it. Especially when applicants have been declining for several years running, to the point where LSAC publishes the following chart:If I squint at this right, it would appear than even though applicants are down 9% compared to last year, the bottom has really come at last because the 2015 line is right on top of the 2014 line! Amirite? I don't think the line thickness respresents a 10% swing, but who cares? This would imply that 2015 isn't actually worse than 2014, actual numbers be damned! Number-crunching maniacs like Ted Seto, Ben Barros and Steve Diamond will be thrilled!
Thankfully, Leichter's chart is more precise:
Oh, there is that pesky little 9% decline over last year...! Plain as day. With seven prior-year's-worth of context. There must have been an honest mistake in chart scaling over at LSAC, or something.
If this is any indication about chart scaling and truth in advertising (remember this one?), here's to another year of the Cartel hoping that lawyers and lawyer-wanna-bes can't do math.