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NEWTOWN, PA (September 6, 2001) U.S. law schools are experiencing the largest increase in applicants since 1991, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) announced today. While final data are not yet available, preliminary numbers show that approximately 78,724 persons will have applied to at least one ABA-approved law school for the Fall 2001 class -- a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year.

"The increase is good news for law schools that saw a nearly one-third decrease in the number of applicants during the nineties," said Philip D. Shelton, president and executive director of the LSAC. "The increase in applicants is allowing law schools to be more selective and assemble better law school classes."

"Applications have jumped radically here," said Peter C. Storandt, Director of Admissions at Oklahoma City University School of Law. "We’re not quite certain why. But our recruitment efforts here have allowed us to be well-positioned to take advantage of the increase."

Some admission professionals believe the increase in applicants may be linked to the downturn in the economy.

"The economy has changed dramatically," said William J. Hoye, Assistant Dean at the University of Southern California Law School. "College graduates are not being offered the same kind of employment opportunities as in past years."

More Applicants, Even More Applications

LSAC is projecting a 7.8 percent increase in the total number of applications, the third year in a row that the increase in applications outpaced the increase in applicants. Every region of the nation is experiencing an increase in applications with the Midwest (17.9 percent), Mountain West (12.6 percent), and Northwest (11.7 percent) regions seeing the largest in spike in applications. The New England (4.1 percent) and Northeast (4.9 percent) regions, however, saw slimmer increases.

The increase in applications means that applicants are applying to more schools. The average applicant now applies to 4.64 law schools as compared to 4.49 school a year ago.

Minority Applicants Increase, But at a Slower Pace

While the number of minority applicants continues to grow, data reveal that, with the exception of Asian/ Pacific Islanders, minority applicants are growing more slowly than the national average.

The number of White applicants increased by 7.1 percent while African Americans

grew by 4.3 percent, Asian/ Pacific Islanders increased 7.4 percent; Chicano/ Mexicans were up just 2.2 percent; Hispanic/ Latino applicants saw a 4.5 percent increase; and Puerto Rican applicants dropped 2.1 percent.

But some law schools report good news when it comes to minority recruitment. Louisiana State reports a 40 percent increase in minority applicants and cites increased state funding which allowed it to hire another admissions counselor as a primary reason.

The LSAC is a nonprofit organization whose membership includes 183 ABA-approved law schools in the United States and 15 Canadian law schools.


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