Fewer Students Taking LSATs

Bad news for law schools may be good news for aspiring law students.  Fewer students are taking the LSAT these days and if October’s test-taking totals are an indication, we are in the midst of a two-year decline in the number of students taking the LSAT.

The Numbers

In 2010, 150,000+ students took the LSAT.  Last year, that number fell to 129,000, and a lot of students benefited.  Law Schools kept waiting for additional applications, ones that would allow them to fill the slots they had filled the year before, but those applications didn’t come.  The result was a lot of last-minute acceptance notices, with students being notified in May and June that a “reach” school had come through.

This year, the number of June test takers was about 6% lower than last June and, more importantly, this year’s October’s numbers were approximately 16% off.

The Number of LSAT Takers Since 1987

You can access the link directly, here.

Of course, there may be a systematic reason why people are delaying taking it this year, and perhaps students will take the December test in record numbers.  It’s also possible that the students who are skipping the LSAT are the lowest scorers and, if so, the changes won’t have a lot of impact on admissions to tier one and tier two schools.

But for now, it looks like law schools will be hard-pressed to make their numbers, and this could auger well for prospective law students.  If law school applications decline commensurately, then law schools will have to dip further into the pool of LSAT takers to make their numbers.  Students who were looking at South Texas College of Law, may be looking at Texas Tech, and students looking at Tech may be looking at UH, and so on.


  1. Cast a wide net.  Don’t let a $100 application fee deter you from applying.  You are about to make a $150,000 investment, and it’s worth a $100 to ensure you get into the best school for you.
  2. Categorize your applications into “reach”, “competitive,” and “fallback” schools.  I recommend five of each.  You can find a searchable database here.
  3. If you are on the bubble, with the potential to apply this year or to delay a year, go for it this year.

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