LSAT Tea-Leaf Reading: February 2014

It’s the end of the LSAT year! Party! And we have 19,499 people taking the LSAT in February 2014, a record low going back to … February 2013. Yup, there was actually a 1.1 percent increase in LSATs year-over-year.

No. LSAT Takers, 4-Testing Period Moving Sum

The four-testing-period moving sum is thus slightly higher at 105,532. In December it had reached a record low of 105,319. It’s the first time since June 2010 that the moving sum saw an increase. Nevertheless, the 2013-14 testing year is a record low going back to 1998-99.

It’s possible that the bottom has been reached, but I’m not betting on it. The February LSAT has historically had the lowest ratio of first-time LSAT takers compared to the other testing periods, so the other testing periods can stand to lose more first-time takers.

Since we’re talking LSAC data, here’re the fall 2014 applicant and application estimates, which were updated yesterday.

No. Applicants Over App Cycle

No. Applications Over App Cycle

There was a slight bump in the final estimate last week, but it shows that there will be about 53,500 applicants this year. I’ve read some comments here and there saying that the law schools have already made offers to everyone who was on the fence last year. I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, we’d expect the final applicant count to be noticeably lower than the current projections, which have steadily risen over the past several weeks. Then again, last year there was a shift in the number of applicants as a percentage of the previous year’s final preliminary applicant count, indicating latecomer applicants.

No. Applicants as a Percent of Preliminary Final Count by Week

What’s interesting is that the shift became apparent around week six (mid February) and then after week 10, which would have been last week. Then again, schools could just be shifting their application deadlines.

That’s all I’ve got.



  1. It is always hard to tell, but the fall slowdown in hiring growth

    ( – scroll to bottom)

    may be encouraging more interest in law schools (and therefore LSAT takers).

    It is a depressing, endlessly destructive post-2000 dynamic – labor economy flatlines, grad “education” profits by “preparing” student debtors for non-existent jobs.

    At least the increase is very small.

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