LSAT, October 1989: 36,804 takers. LSAT, September 2009: 60,746 takers--the record highest number to ever take the LSAT on a single test date.
Considering the ratio of jokes about lawyers compared to jokes about all
other professions--combined--the spike in the number of pre law test-takers is
So, we thought we'd take a moment to ponder, what's really going on here.
Here are our top 10 guesses for why more of you are taking the LSAT:
1. It's the economy, silly. Tricks may be for kids, but law seems to be the popular choice for career-seeking adults. Silly rabbit.
2. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Can 60,000 people be wrong?
3. It's a backup to other grad programs. Sure, in case the PhD in astrophysics doesn't work out.
4. Keeping the parentals happy. Doing your part to give the neighbors something to talk about.
5. Dreams of BigLaw and BigPay. Will you get a yacht first or buy that small island you've always wanted.
6. Your dream job is on the '99 List'...and you don't want to take chances. Taking example to heart.
7. There is $100K+ burning a whole in someone's pocket. Consider flame retardant pants in the future.
8. Just looking for some street cred. They said you couldn't do it, and now you want to prove them all wrong.
9. Pro bono publico. Pursuing the degree for the people, by the people.
10. You took the pop quiz, and passed. Wait, if you actually took the pop quiz you'll know pass/fail is all relative.
Whatever your reasons for considering law school may be, keep in mind the following as you gear up to apply:
Have you managed an expectation today...
Now this punch list may be, well, a little punchy--but all jokes aside, the decision to go to law school shouldn't be taken lightly. Students who once wandered from undergrad lecture halls to a law school campus and just stayed, may soon find themselves to be a rare breed. And, many pre-law students approach the possibility of law school with unrealistic expectations of salaries and post-graduation job availability. So, it is important to answer the 'why' question of attending law school early in the game.
It's a law school's market.
With a broad pool of qualified applicants, law schools can afford to be even more selective. Beyond the traditional criteria of LSAT scores and GPA, law schools may pay more attention to law-related work experience, whether students possess a clear vision of what want from the degree, and the likelihood of students passing the Bar exam and finding a job (factors that affect law school rankings, no doubt).
More money, more problems...more lawyers, more ____ ?
On the face of it, it would seem that however litigious we think America is now throwing in a few (thousand) more attorneys will make lawsuits as common as sliced bread. However, it could be that there is a saturation point for number of attorneys and amount of litigation. As it is there is an expanding community of non-practicing JD's who have used their study of law in other fields. The uptick in LSAT takers may speak to an increasing recognition that the general public wants to understand and relate to law, without necessarily being practitioners in the field. J.D.'s may find themselves well-positioned to be the translators of legalese in a variety of fields and work environments.
Just like test prep
If you are in the legal arena, you owe it to the field of law to give anyone taking the LSAT or considering law school a thorough and rigorous cross-examination before they take the plunge.
And if you are a law school hopeful, you owe it to yourself to consider the decision to go to law school like a Logic Games problem, rather than just a Reading Comprehension one...jump in to get some real experience in the field before you commit, talk to practicing and non-practicing lawyers, and when you've narrowed it down to two options...go with your gut.
- Big Law, We Have a Problem (Most Strongly Supported)
- You (and 60,000 Others) Have Taken the LSAT. Now Read This. (Wall Street Journal)
- Stacking Up Law School to Other Grad Programs (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Should I Go to Law School? The Pop Quiz (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)