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A Kaplan survey of 145 law school admisions offices shows nearly nine out of 10 have gotten negative recommendations about applicants.

Law school survey: Bad ‘recommendations’ keep some applicants out

For the many of you who think that there are too many lawyers pouring into the profession, here’s a small bit of good news: law school applicants’ foolish choices about whom they ask to recommend them are keeping some of them out.

According to a new Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions survey, 87 percent of law school admissions offices say they have received a negative “letter of recommendation” about an applicant. Fifteen percent say that such letters are their biggest application killers.

Of course, these days the negative recommender may actually be doing the person they intend to harm a favor by keeping him/her from a flooded lawyer job market. It’s the folks who get the positive recommendations (and therefore get in) who both create and suffer from the glut.

Here are a few other tidbits from the survey of 145 law school admissions officers:

— 56 percent predict an increase in applications this year, while only 6 percent predict a decrease — 25 percent predict application numbers to remain flat, while 13 percent were not sure;

— 75 percent say the lagging effects of the recession are responsible for the recent and predicted application increases; and

— 0 percent say they will guarantee that the students they admit will find meaningful work.

OK, the last one’s mine, not Kaplan’s, but that doesn’t stop it from being true.

If current trends continue, the number of lawyers will exceed the number of people by 2052, according to my own crack statistical analysis. Of course, this depends on my prediction that the ABA will start accrediting robot law schools in the year 2034.

About Mark Cohen


  1. So it is clear: (1) robots teaching humans? (2) humans teaching robots? (3) robots teaching robots? (4) humans teaching humans about robots? or (5) all of the above?

    Regardless, I think the safer bet is on an avatar school.

  2. LOL!

    I was thinking about the law students being the robots, but I can see I did not phrase lawyerly enough.

    I have also factored in that the robot law students will rebel in 2076, when none of them land jobs due to the oversatuturated robo-lawyer job market. The law schools will respond by making legal education more practical, because they are robots after all, and they don’t really need all that theory stuff.

    But I like the avatar idea too. But would that be avatar students, avatar teachers, avatars teaching avatars … you get the point.

  3. It might not be a bad idea for all citizens to be a lawyer. It may cut down on some case loads. Before filing a suit, remember the person who is about to be served, may indeed be a lawyer him/her self. The government could just pass a law requiring all citizens over 18 years of age to take four years of college and pass a bar exam.

  4. Interesting thought. I bet you could get BarBri to support your proposal …

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