COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts Law School Admissions


Fordham Law School has seen an increase in the number of applications it typically receives each year. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Caitlin Cusack, Contributing Writer

Law school admissions at Fordham Law School have observed changes in the numbers and demographics of applicants since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March. 

“This past year nationally applicants were up by 20% and at Fordham they were up by 50%,” said Stephen Brown, assistant dean of enrollment for Fordham School of Law. “Many are COVID-inspired, people looking to evaluate their lives. Many are looking at human rights and equality issues, others to delaying enrollment from last year, some due to increased scores on the LSAT, which can now be taken from home.” 

The Law School Admission Council, known as the LSAC, moved all LSATs online and rebranded the online option as the LSAT-Flex. With this change in testing, many issues began to surface. The delay and cancellation of tests has been occurring since March of last year, and students have been frustrated. Ranging from problems with registering for a test remotely to the program losing test scores and results, it has not been a smooth process. 

Instead of being deterred by these issues, more students are taking the LSAT-Flex and applying to law schools. LSAC data shows that the total number of law school applications submitted increased by 3.3% in the last year. Many applicants reason that they’ll be able to ride out a recession during their three years in law school and enter into a recovering job market. 

Students are also using their time in quarantine to better prepare and plan for law school. Brown said that many law schools admissions offices appreciate how the Fordham core curriculum prepares students for legal studies. “The law school staff is aware that Fordham students are well-educated in literacy and numeracy,” said Brown. “Law school admissions offices encourage current students to look for internships and work experience in the area of law in which one is interested in.” 

During this past year, the pandemic has not had a strenuous impact on the job market for legal professionals. Lawyers will be more necessary than ever in a post-pandemic world. Still, law firms have encouraged their employees to work from home in order to keep themselves and others safe, creating a very different work environment for many of the nation’s legal professionals than was typical before the pandemic.  

During these unprecedented times law school admissions offices across the country offered virtual events for students to learn more about their programs. While some aspects of Fordham Law have reopened, all on-campus events will remain suspended through the spring semester, according to the Fordham Law School admissions office. Because of these continued safety measures, law school admissions officials made strides to keep in contact with applicants virtually by holding Zoom office hours, virtual tours and encouraging students to register for online information sessions.