LSAT Tea-Leaf Reading: December 2013 Edition

Fresh from the LSAC: 28,363 LSATs in December 2013, a record low as far back as the LSAC data tell us (1987). The previous record we know of was December 1997 when you were all still listening to Alanis. Okay, be honest, you still are.

No. LSAT Takers, 4-Testing Period Moving Sum

The four-testing period moving sum is still a tad higher than February 1999 (105,319 now versus 104,236 then). I don’t think it’ll hit the record low by February or June of this year, but it might in the future.

Notably, the December decline has sharply decelerated (accelerated, technically, I guess). Unlike the double-digit percent declines over the last three Decembers, this one was only a -6.16 percent drop. It’s more evidence that the LSAT bottom is approaching.

With 105,319 calendar-year LSATs, and assuming a ratio of 1.94 LSATs to subsequent year applicants, like last year, there would be 54,300 law school applicants this fall. So far, the initial applicant estimate is lower than that, implying the LSAT-to-applicant ratio will be higher this year. The most recent applicant projection is unchanged between December and now, ~51,300.

[UPDATE: Jagged Little Pill had finally fallen out of the Billboard 200’s top 10 albums by February 1997. Nevertheless, you were still listening to it that December. You were certainly out buying Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love, Barbra Streisand’s Higher Ground, LeAnn Rimes’ You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs, Shania Twain’s Come on Over, and of course, Chumbawamba’s Tubthumper. The LSTB greatly regrets possibly misleading readers on ’90s music history.]



  1. “Unlike the double-digit percent declines over the last three Decembers, this one was only a -6.16 percent drop. It’s more evidence that the LSAT bottom is approaching.”

    Couldn’t we just as easily say that the trend in you friend and that we should assume it will continue? At least that is what traders would say.

  2. Speaking of Tubthumper…I foresee a wave of law schools discovering the virtues of “open” admissions in the interests of “social justice” – all on the “federal dime”…oh, wait…

  3. All one has to do is look at this site:

    to understand why the numbers haven’t dropped further.

    Very very sad reading.

    PS I deny each and every one of the allegations made in your update. (Note no smiley face.)

    1. Hey, Tubthumper holds up! Mostly.

      I’ll have to listen to the others as I checked out of popular music in the late ’90s in favor of Rimsky-Korsakov. Think I came out ahead on that one.

      1. I listened to Tubthumper tonight for the 1st time ever, and truly regret having done so.

  4. I’m waiting for the “No Bubble – Just Rock” post that graces us with Shania Twain.

    I suspect that has about as much chance happening as the admins have of getting 40,000 lemmings to sit for the LSAT again.

  5. Has anyone noted that the most recent declines are far more precipitous than those in the aftermath of previous recessions? I think the difference this time is that the jig is finally up — people are finally becoming aware of the crapshoot that is investing in legal education. And it gets crappier as the internet continues to make things like fighting small claims cases or compiling a will something the reasonably intelligent layperson can do on their own.

    1. I agree, around 1997 through 1999, the numbers of total LSAT test takers were about the same within a three year trend, somewhere around the 110,000’s, like this current three year trend. BUT, I am guessing that unlike the last three years of the 1990′s, were once the new decade approached, the following years had an increase of test takers. However, do you think that perhaps they will not rise in this case???????

    2. But it was the internet that *also* finally put the blade to the law school scam.

      Thank blog.

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