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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Survey: Interest in law school up

The number of students looking to attend law school has increased, and the sour national economy may be the leading reason why, a recent survey of prospective law students by Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions found.
Texas A&M is following the national trend, said Karen Severn, the pre-law adviser at A&M. She said the number of Law School Admissions Tests, LSATs, which are the tests students take in order to attend law school, has increased by 6.4 percent as compared to the previous year. Though the figure includes students who may have taken the exam before, the number of students who took the test in February 2009 as compared to a year ago has increased by 11.5 percent.
Kaplan surveyed approximately 1,000 pre-law students who took the LSAT and 40 percent of the students said that the financial downturn has been their motivation in applying to law school.
One main reason behind the economic aspect follows the idea that students do not want to join the workforce, which has reached a low point in the U.S. The Kaplan survey reports that students would rather “strengthen their knowledge, so they are more competitive when they graduate.”
The Kaplan survey found that 67 percent of respondents listed the potential earning power of being a lawyer as driving their decision to apply to law school. The median annual salary of a lawyer nine months after graduating law school was $66,000 in 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Another reason for the increase of law students is due to the recent publicized presidential race. The Kaplan survey found that 54 percent of those surveyed considered running for political office.
“Among all of the students polled, 42 percent said that they would definitely or probably run for political office sometime in the future,” said Russell Schaffer, a spokesman for Kaplan.
Of those who said that they would “definitely or probably” run for political office, 52 percent were male and 42 percent were female.
According to the Law School Admissions Council, in fall 2008, 29,290 male applicants received acceptance to law school while 26,160 female applicants were accepted.
Schaffer said that though the gap of men and women in the legal profession is “effectively closed,” the gap between political professions is still a large stance.
“Traditionally, more men want to and do run for political office,” Schaffer said. “Women have become more and more involved recently, but the gender gap is still visible. There are signs that the gap is closing, but it may be some time before we see it equalize.”
By the numbersOut of 1,000 pre-law students surveyed, 40 percent of the students said the financial downturn encouraged them to apply. The Kaplan survey found that 54 percent of those surveyed considered running for political office and 42 percent said they would definitely or probably run for political office.

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