The economy during the past few years has not been kind to legal education. We have noted numerous times the critiques of, cuts and trends in, and future of legal education. And yesterday, we asked the question, “should one go to law school?,” and linked to a Business Insider video analyzing the topic.
There has been another type of cut in legal education over the past few years—i.e., a cut in the median LSAT scores of incoming students. This was the subject of a recent Inside Higher Ed article—
As the number of students going to law school drops dramatically, law schools are increasingly competing for students with lower undergraduate grades and LSAT scores.
Thomas M. Cooley Law School – the largest law school in the country – is known for admitting students other law schools would not touch. The reputation is increasingly inaccurate. Last fall, seven law schools had entering classes with lower median LSAT scores than Cooley’s.
Professors who study legal education worry that schools are enrolling more and more students who have not proved they can graduate law school. Equally concerning is that law schools are admitting and then graduating students who might not be able to pass the bar exam.
Five years ago, no American Bar Association-accredited law school had an entering class with a median LSAT score of less than 145. Now, seven law schools do, according to Jerome M. Organ, a professor at University of St. Thomas School of Law who studies the legal market. That means at least half the first-year students at seven law schools scored a 144 on the LSAT or lower.
The LSAT has a scale of 180 down to 120. The average LSAT score is around 150. The LSAT has a margin of error, but 145 is considered a symbolic line by legal education experts and school administrators.
"At one level, we’re in uncharted territory,” Organ said.
The full article is available here.