Feb 13, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

While law school applications have been trending downward for the past few years, a recent report from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) reveals a significant uptick in interest during the 2018-2019 admissions cycle. While several factors are responsible for the reversal, experts say increased attention surrounding attorneys and judges during the Trump presidency has motivated some students to pursue law careers. Here’s a closer look at the phenomenon, along with the resulting “Trump bump.”

Interest Is On the Rise

According to LSAC figures, the number of law school applications rose by nearly 11 percent from the 2017-2018 cycle. Not only that, but there was also a whopping 27.9 percent increase in the number of LSAT tests administered from December 2016 to December 2017.

Understanding the Interest

As the US job market has improved, young people have been more optimistic about employment prospects, and therefore more willing to invest in law school, says US News & World Report.  Additionally, many law schools are sweetening the deal by offering the best and brightest students tuition discounts.

And then there’s the “Trump bump.” LSAC CEO Kellye Testy told US News & World Report, “I think young people are again thinking, ‘I want to do that,’ because they’ve seen how lawyers can make a difference.”

Echoed PowerScore admissions consulting firm CEO Dave Killoran, “Trump has had a galvanizing effect on many prospective students, both Democrat and Republican. We see our students discussing specific policies far more frequently than in the past, and the depth of feeling they are expressing is greater than ever before.”

Where Does This Leave You?

Experts say we can expect to see even more of the same moving forward. Asserts one law school dean, “As law school applications tend to be cyclical, I expect that we are in the beginning of a longer-term increase in applications.”

Concerned that this shift may detrimentally impact your own chances of getting into law school? Insiders say not to worry: Not only are law school class sizes likely to swell to accommodate growing interest, but demand is not necessarily distributed evenly across all law schools. Concludes Killoran, “If you had the numbers to get into a certain school last year, it’s very likely you’d still get in this year.”




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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