Three reasons why more people may be taking the LSAT

The number of people taking the June LSAT increased by 20 percent from the prior year, the largest increase in LSAT test-takers since September of 2009.

While many are hopeful the increase is related to increased excitement about the law, the real reason could be related to logistical changes.

“I think people are starting to understand again the necessity for the rule of law,” Kellye Testy, President of the Law School Admission Council, told Law.com. “Our current political climate has demonstrated that.”

But the so-called Trump-Bump may be just wishful thinking, according to a Jeff Thomas, Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of pre-law programs.

First, LSAC recently lifted the cap on the number of times a prospective law student can take the LSAT. Test-takers were previously limited to three tests over a two-year period. The June 2017 LSAT was the first exam to be administered since the cap was lifted.

Second, this year’s June exam was scheduled a week later in the month than last year’s exam, providing college test-takers with additional time to prepare for the LSAT after spring finals.

People may also be attracted to law school due to an improving employment landscape, Thomas wrote.

 “We won’t know if the June test-taker surge is a just a shift or a true renewed interest in legal education for a while,” Thomas said. “Sure, some law schools will accept highly qualified late applicants for this Fall’s incoming class. But those numbers are likely to be small. And applicants for this Fall’s class are actually down a tick from last year’s applicant numbers.”

The total number of test-takers is still significantly down from 2009-2010 levels when more than 170,000 people took the exam. The number of test-takers bottomed out in 2014-2015 at just over 100,000. Since then, there have been modest gains. Between 2016 and 2017, there were 109,354 test-takers.

The June numbers are promising for the 2017-2018 year, but the Trump-Bump may be short-lived. By comparison, a record breaking 32,973 aspiring law students took the June LSAT in 2010. Although this was the highest number of June test-takers ever recorded, the total number of test-takers decreased by nearly 10 percent for the 2010-2011 year.

It is too early to tell whether or not the surge in June LSAT takers will translate into more people submitting actual applications, Testy told Law.com.

“The real test will be next year when we see how the numbers of applicants shape up for Fall 2018 admissions,” Thomas wrote.

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