Sep 26, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

While many law students attribute their legal career goals to wanting to help people, the political climate in the US may be sending more students than ever into the legal profession with this reason in mind. According to a recent blog from LSAT prep company Blueprint, pushback against the Trump administration’s immigration policies may be prompting more students to pursue legal careers. Here’s a closer look at the phenomenon.

“The Trump Bump”

Legal scholars have coined the term “Trump bump” to describe what may be an increase of students applying to law school due to the noble role lawyers have played regarding Trump’s travel ban. Contends Blueprint writer Jodi Teti, “From immigration lawyers working for free at airports around the country to help refugees to federal judges issuing restraining orders to halt the Muslim ban, the profession is enjoying a boost in reputation.”

This isn’t the first time current events have inspired a new generation of legal professionals. Experts compare the increased interest to similar spikes in aspiring lawyers during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

Reversing Numbers

After five years of consistently declining numbers of SAT takers, the numbers have started to pick up over the past two years. In June of 2017, nearly 28,000 students took the LSAT -- not only representing a 20 percent increase, but also the biggest leap of the past eight years.

In polling thousands of recent test takers, Blueprint found that while demand for prestigious careers and high salaries topped the list of reasons why students were applying to law school, “as a response to the current political climate/Trump administration” claimed the third spot on the list. All in all, 52 percent of respondents cited both the Trump presidency and current events as “moderately influential” to “very influential” to their legal career goals.

Backing up the facts and figures? Input from the students themselves. One legal-clerk-by-day/law-student-by-night told Blueprint of her motivations, “I’m going to law school because the judicial branch seems to be the final front against the injustices that we’re currently facing. I want my daughter to grow up in a more loving and accepting country.”

Read more about studying immigration law and human rights law.






Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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