GU LAW SCHOOL GU Law School Applications Rise To Record High By Amanda McGrath Hoya Staff Writer

The Georgetown University Law Center received nearly 11,500 applications for the fall semester – the largest number of applications ever received by an American law school.

The 21 percent increase reflects the dramatic national growth in the number of students showing interest in law, medical, business and graduate schools. According to Ed Haggerty, media relations specialist for the Law School Admissions Council, the average number of applicants to American Bar Association-approved law schools has risen by 18.5 percent as compared to this time last year. The LSAC is a nonprofit organization consisting of 184 law schools approved by the ABA.

Haggerty attributed the increased interest to the recent downturn in the economy. “We believe – and most people agree – that this current state of the economy has motivated many college students and people who are currently in the job market to apply to law school,” he said. Executive Director of Communications for the Law Center Marsha Berry agreed. “Usually, this is what happens after the economy falters – jobs are harder to find. Students coming out of undergraduate schools want to go on to law, medical, business and graduate schools,” she said. “It’s normally a trend.”

Berry said that Georgetown, already one of the largest law programs in the country, did not plan to increase the size of the incoming class for the fall term. Last year, about 23 percent of applicants were accepted; Berry anticipated that only about 18 percent of this year’s pool would be accepted.

“It’s not a surprise. We had every indication since last fall that there would be increases for this fall,” Berry said, but called the numbers “extraordinary.”

One in every seven students applying to law schools for the coming fall is applying to Georgetown. The thousands of applicants are in competition for about 500 openings. Haggerty said the overall effect of the influx of applicants would be positive. “It’s really a good situation for most law schools. It allows them to assemble the best first year law class possible,” Haggerty said. “Most law schools have not increased their class sizes, so they’re simply being more selective about the applicants they choose.”

The competition, Berry agreed, could only strengthen the quality of the assembled class. “It means you are in a position to look at the very best qualified people to participate in school here,” she said.

The record set by Georgetown follows years of increased interest in the university’s law program. Over the past five years, the number of applicants to the Law Center has grown by nearly 63 percent. Berry attributed the growth to Georgetown’s respected national reputation.

Berry said she expected the trend to continue. “A lot has to do with the trend we’ve seen over the past few years. It does appear interest will continue to increase, judging from [the economy] and testing programs,” she said, referring to the Law School Admissions Test. Nearly 133,800 people took the LSAT exam this year, a 22.7 percent increase from the previous year.

Haggerty said he could not predict whether or not the increased interest in law programs across the nation would continue to grow. “It’s very difficult for us to look into a crystal ball and see the future, we just don’t know,” he said.

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