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Trump bump. It’s fun to say. It’s fun to type. That’s probably why people have been using the phrase to describe everything from the bullish markets to the inclusion of one of Trump’s lawyer’s firms in Vault’s latest Top 100. But it seems that the decade-long slump in law school admissions may be coming to an end thanks to a “Trump bump.” (And no, it’s not just because Tiffany Trump just started classes at Georgetown Law).
According to LSAC, the organization that administers the LSAT, more than 27,000 people took the entrance exam in June, a nearly 20% increase from June 2016. It’s the largest year-over-year increase since the 1980s and the largest total number of takers since 2010, in the depths of the recession. While there are a number of factors that may help explain this large increase (a slight shift in the testing calendar, the removal of a cap on exam attempts), the bump is especially impressive in light of several law schools indicating that they’ll now accept GRE scores in place of LSAT scores. Which led many to speculate that the increase in LSAT takers may be related the new presidential administration. LSAC president Kelleye Testy said last month, “I think people are starting to understand again the necessity for the rule of law. Our current political climate has demonstrated that.”
And while several media outlets were asking if this was a Trump bump, one LSAT prep company decided to find out. Blueprint LSAT Preparation surveyed more than 500 of their 2017 LSAT students and asked them, “Why do you want to become a lawyer?” Of six possible choices, 24% of respondents ranked “the current political climate/ Trump administration” as the most important factor in their decision. And in response to a separate question, more than 52% of respondents said the Trump presidency was at least moderately influential to their decision to apply to law school. The survey also found that “recent events such as the Charlottesville protests” were at least moderately influential to the decision of what type of law to study to more than 52% of respondents.
So it looks like the big spike in LSAT takers may be stemming from the fabled “Trump bump.” Fortunately, law schools seem to be responding, with professors retooling their con law syllabi to address Trump-specific issues.
You can view the full survey results here.
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