Boalt Hall, Law Schools, LSAT, UVA Law

Have LSAT Scores Changed At The Top Law Schools?

The law school brain drain is in full effect. Applications from Ivy League graduates are down, and applications are down in general. Last week, my colleague Elie Mystal described the troubling predicament like so: “[T]he students with the best ‘logical reasoning skills’ as measured by the LSAT are avoiding law school at a higher rate than people at shallow end of the LSAT pool.” That being the case, how have top law schools responded to the less than impressive talent pool? By doing the same thing they’ve always done.

Despite the fact that some of the most well-qualified students are fleeing the law school application game like rats from a sinking ship, T14 law schools are still attracting rather competitive applicants. Unlike the law schools that would reportedly consider admitting applicants with sub-145 LSAT scores, top schools would never deign to lower their elite standards — well, at least not by that much.

While it’s still difficult to get into a top law school, it’s not quite as difficult as it used to be before the bottom fell out from the entry-level employment market. What do top law schools’ LSAT scores look like now compared to three years ago? Let’s take a look…

Yesterday, the WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.) addressed this issue by comparing the LSAT 25th/75th percentiles for the Class of 2015 versus the Class of 2012 at five of the best law schools in the country. The results… weren’t very interesting. Come on now, did you really think that Yale of all places would sway even slightly from its 170/176 LSAT benchmark?

With the Law Blog’s assistance plus some of our own research, we collected admissions data on the Class of 2015 versus the Class of 2012 for a little more than half of the T14. Here’s the information:

Yale Law
Class of 2012: 170/176
Class of 2015: 170/176

Harvard Law
Class of 2012: 171/176
Class of 2015: 170/175

Columbia Law
Class of 2012: 170/175
Class of 2015: 170/174

University of Chicago Law
Class of 2012: 169/173
Class of 2015: 167/173

Class of 2012: 165/171
Class of 2015: 164/171

Berkeley Law
Class of 2012: 165/170
Class of 2015: 163/170

Michigan Law
Class of 2012: 167/170
Class of 2015: 166/170

Duke Law
Class of 2012: 167/171
Class of 2015: 166/170

Moving further down the list of the best law schools in the nation, the 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles doesn’t seem to fluctuate by much more than one or two points. Don’t be so quick to buy into the hype that it’s easier to get into law school today, because it looks like it’s business as usual in the T14. In fact, a spokesman for Harvard Law just went so far as say that while it’s a “great time to apply to top law schools,” it’s still just as hard to get into the school as it ever was.

At lower-ranked schools, it’s another story entirely. Take, for example, Cooley Law. In a time of crisis, its most recent 25th/75th LSAT percentiles were 142/151. We wonder what those numbers will be next year.

Scoring on the LSAT begins at 120, so Cooley has a lot to aspire to, and not in a good way. Luckily, top law schools don’t need to concern themselves with such sad propositions.

LSAT Scores at Top Law Schools Hold Steady Amid Applicant Plunge [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
Harvard’s Still Hard to Get Into, Law School Promises [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

Earlier: Law School Applications Plummet
Possible Evidence Of The Law School Brain Drain: Now In A Helpful Chart
Cooley Law Plans To RAISE Tuition, Will Consider LOWERING Standards

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