Law School Applications See Largest Increase Since 1991
U.S. law schools are experiencing the largest increase in applicants since 1991, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) announced earlier this month. Preliminary numbers show that approximately 78,724 persons have applied to at least one American Bar Association-approved law school for the fall 2001 class. The figure represents a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year.
“The increase is good news for law schools that saw a nearly one-third decrease in the number of applicants during the ’90s,” says Philip D. Shelton, president and executive director of LSAC. The increase also allows law schools to be more selective and assemble better law school classes, he says.
Applications at Oklahoma City University School of Law have “jumped radically,” according to the school’s director of admissions Peter C. Storandt. “We’re not quite certain why. But our recruitment efforts here have allowed us to be well-positioned to take advantage of the increase,” he says.
Some admissions professionals believe the increase in applicants may be linked to the downturn in the economy.
“The economy has changed dramatically,” says William J. Howe, assistant dean at the University of Southern California Law School. “College graduates are not being offered the same kind of employment opportunities as in past years.”
While the number of minority applicants continues to grow, data reveal that, with the exception of Asian/Pacific Islanders, minority applicants are growing more slowly than the national average.
The number of White applicants increased by 7.1 percent while African Americans grew by 4.3 percent, Chicano/Mexicans by 2.2 percent, Hispanic/Latino applicants by 4.5 percent, and Puerto Rican applicants dropped 2.1 percent. Asian/Pacific Islanders increased 7.4 percent
Still some law schools report good news when it comes to minority recruitment. Louisiana State reports a 40 percent increase in minority applicants and cited increased state funding which allowed it to hire another admissions counselor as a primary reason.
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