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Starting Law School Amid a Pandemic: The Incoming Class of 2020

Law School Admission Council, Not only did a class of law students graduate in 2020 amid the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new class also just began their studies during this “one-of-a-kind” year. What do we know about this intrepid group? Each fall, LSAC works closely with the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and law schools across the United States to compile enrollment data for the incoming class of law students. This aggregated “Standard 509” data provides a snapshot of the size and make-up of the incoming class, including number of students, full- and part-time status, racial, ethnic, and gender information, as well as LSAT score and undergraduate GPA by quartiles for each law school. This data also provides an opportunity to look at areas of progress and emerging trends that could affect the future of legal education and our justice system more broadly…JD class for 2020 is substantially similar to 2019, although the applicant pool was larger. For 2020, there are 38,202 incoming JD students at 197 ABA-accredited law schools, compared to 38,282 incoming JD students at 199 ABA-accredited law schools in 2019. These levels are notable for several reasons: first, they demonstrate the continued strong interest in law school even as many schools transitioned to teaching in remote or hybrid models; second, they demonstrate that schools continue to be sensitive to the job market and opportunities for new lawyers to put their hard-earned degrees to work. As the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) has observed, the job market for JD graduates has become stronger in recent years in part because of a better match between the number of jobs and the number of graduates…”

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