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Monday, November 27, 2017
Are Law Schools Seeing a “Trump Bump”?
This question was posed in a Huffington Post editorial this week by Ray Brescia, an Associate Professor of Law at Albany Law School in New York. Brescia built his premise, in part, on an apparent twenty-percent increase in LSAT takers for the December 2017 exam. The spike is notable given that the numbers of students taking the LSAT has been, for several years, in steady decline.
Brescia speculates that Trump's election may have galvanized young people on both sides of the political spectrum to increase their social involvement. Against the backdrop of a highly charged political environment, civic engagement does appear to be on the rise. Lawyers were instrumental in reversing most of the adverse effects of Trump's so-called travel ban last winter. Appellate court judges across the country have neutralized many high profile executive orders issued by Trump over the past twelve months.
If Trump's election has coaxed out social justice warriors, it has also emboldened conservative support for the administration's promise of policy changes. The visible victories of progressive lawyers may have the unintended side effect of inspiring a new wave of conservatives to pursue law degrees in order to fight back.
There are, of course, myriad reasons why LSAT numbers may be up. The country is recovering from the recession that scared so many students away from law school in the first place. This could be a statistical blip. But while Brescia's educated speculation may not unfurl as expected, it is an interesting social enquiry. The U.S. is certainly in unprecedented political territory at present. The current administration has made statements and movements that threaten to topple the constitutional democracy that has underpinned the Republic for 241 years.
If that isn't a good reason to go to law school, I'm not sure what is.
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