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Monday, February 9, 2015
Law School Standards Slipping? Part Two
The last blog scratched the surface of the changing shape of the law school climate. I poked fun at the snobbery of law school hierarchies. And while I may personally find them distasteful, they are alive and well.
Put simply, it still does make sense to try and get into a T14 school. First of all, they are good schools. Second of all, you're more likely to get a job in an incredibly competitive market. This is a pretty big deal breaker when you're graduating with six-figure debt.
There has been a great deal of discussion about declining applicants and deteriorating LSAT scores. People worry that the quantity and quality of law school applicants is tanking. They then worry about what this means for the profession. There are no actual answers.
There is this. The top schools have been largely unaffected by the downturns. Getting in remains competitive. Graduates get good jobs. Their median LSAT scores aren't going down. The shifts are more apparent at the lower-tiered law schools.
This makes sense. There was always going to be a place for the most competitive students. Big firms still need junior associates and Supreme Courts still need law clerks. They will continue to skim from the top cream.
Whether the changing face of the profession is significant remains to be seen. Students still have to sit state bar exams-the standards of which have not changed. The public will still demand high-quality representation. A more competitive market arguably forces improved quality of practitioners.
The boring truth may be simpler. Fewer people are going to law school, some LSAT scores may have declined, and some law schools may have to re-budget in order to preserve their bottom line. The bigger question for aspiring students is whether or not there is a job waiting for them at the end of the journey.
That's a question mark that punctuates any graduate degree.
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