November 22, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass ‘big four’ neutralized by Notre Dame in 81-68 loss -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass basketball can’t corral Grant, Irish in 81-68 loss -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Frustration haunts Minutemen in 5-3 loss to Boston College -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass hockey drops 5-3 decision to No. 12 Boston College Friday night -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass hockey prepares for nationally ranked Hockey East foes BC, Vermont -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Food scientist proposes way to improve health via breast milk -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons shine in ‘Whiplash’ -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Masculinity: A feminist’s perspective -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UMass women’s basketball uses size and speed en route to its first win against Maine -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why Melissa McBride is the best actor on television -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

‘Gienie’ in a bottle: Patriots, Browns, and Seahawks highlight week 12 picks -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UMass women’s basketball secures first victory of the season against Maine -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Revisiting ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy as the final installment looms -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Establishing the rules of classroom attendance -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UMass hockey’s Troy Power reflects as his 100th career game approaches -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sophomore swimmer Meriza Werenski excelling in increased role -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

SGA senator plans survey on bigotry -

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Minutemen fall to Akron 30-6 on Tuesday night MACtion -

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Awaken your awareness to sleeping -

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

T-Swift v. Spotify: The battle over dying album sales -

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Number of UMass students taking LSAT at a record low

MCT

Catherine Whelan, a senior Legal Studies major at the University of Massachusetts who will attend graduate school in the fall in hopes of one day getting a Ph.D., had dreamed for most of her life of becoming a traditional lawyer in the court system.

“I was just one of those people that came out of the womb wanting do law,” said Whelan.

But when Whelan weighed the debt she would have after going to law school against the probability of landing a job in the market, she decided to reconsider her options. She studied for the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, for two months and then decided to not even take it.

“A lot of people at UMass, and a lot of people in the Legal Studies major in particular, love the discipline of competing and arguing and tearing things apart, so law school is the logical next step for them,” said Whelan. “That’s how everyone thinks about it. When you take a look at the reality of what’s going on in the legal profession, it can be just as logical to back off and look at something else.”

And, according to national and University figures, Whelan appears to be part of a growing trend.

The number of students at UMass taking the  LSAT and continuing their education at law school is at a record low, according to figures from the UMass Pre-Law Advising Office.

In the past two years, the number of students at UMass who have taken the LSATs has dropped by 42 percent, and the number is expected to continue reducing, according to Diane Curtis, the school’s director of pre-law advising.

The number of test takers nationally has also dropped by 25 percent in the last two years, according to figures from the Law School Admission Council that were reported in the New York Times last month. The United States experienced an all-time high of LSAT test takers in the 2009-10 school year – with 171,514 people completing the exam – followed by a sharp drop in the current school year, with only 129,925 taking the exam.

“There’s been a very serious drop [at UMass], more than the national average,” said Curtis.

Curtis noted that the debt for law school is growing much faster than the job market is contracting. The national average for tuition and fees annually is at around $30,000 – not including living expenses.

“It’s been a very long time, a couple of decades, since going to law school meant having an automatic job,” she said.

And for some students at UMass, that has meant a change in plans.

For Ryan Lawson, a senior Legal Studies major, that means taking a different approach to funding his educational pursuits.

“I took five years to finish my undergrad and I don’t plan on taking a gap year. I’m in the Army, so I’m going to law school while I’m under contract. They have an allotted number of credits they’ll pay for, and I think I should have enough to cover the first year of law school,” said Lawson.

Many students also experience extreme stress and pressure to perform perfectly academically, in order to boost their chances of getting a job out of law school and to help them qualify for need-based aid.

“You should see the desktop on my computer,” noted Lawson. “It’s all the classes I should be taking [and] national rankings. It’s kind of ridiculous.”

Elizabeth Keenan, a senior political science major, accepted a position at Staples Corporate for post-graduation, but hopes to attend Suffolk Law School  – where she was accepted  – sometime in the future.

And even though jobs in the legal field may seem scarce, Keenan has advice for students with a passion in law.

“The biggest advice that I would give is that when you’re in college you need to stay focused and try hard and maintain that work ethic that’s going to prepare you for a law degree,” said Keenan. “I think being a hard working student is what it really takes.”

Curtis, however, encourages all students with a passion in law to go to law school.

“If you know for sure that you love law school and you’re going to love being a lawyer and you’re going to stay in that career for decades, this will be an investment in your life and you’re spanning out the payments over a lot longer time,” she said, noting that those interested should contact her.

Victoria Palmatier can be reached at vpalmati@student.umass.edu

 

Comments
2 Responses to “Number of UMass students taking LSAT at a record low”
  1. Diane Curtis says:

    Just to clarify my last quote in this article: it is critical that you research a legal career thoroughly before you make the decision to attend law school. You can only know whether you’ll love being a lawyer if you’ve really investigated it well, in particular by pursuing law-related internships and speaking to practicing attorneys at length. Please don’t make the decision lightly, and do visit the prelaw website or make an appointment to meet with me.

    Diane Curtis
    Director, Pre-Law Advising
    prelaw.umass.edu

  2. Ryan Lawson says:

    I was quoted in this article during the investigative period of my pursuit of law school. After much consideration I decided to take an alternative route in law. Since I wanted to gain further knowledge that would lead to a career in environmental health law and policy I have chosen to attend the University of Minnesota’s prestigious MPH in environmental health policy. I feel this is one niche that legal studies and Polsci students can thrive in without taking on the burden of an expensive law school. Just thought I would share my experience :) good luck to everyone, go UMASS!

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