The LSAC has posted its first report of this admissions season on applications for the class of fall 2016. The LSAC is reporting that "As of 11/27/15, there are 70,863 2016 applications submitted by 13,881 applicants for the 2016–2017 academic year. Applicants are up 0.6% and applications are down 4.1% from 2015–2016. Last year at this time, we had 25% of the preliminary final applicant count." Based on this very preliminary data, one would predict that there will be around 55,524 applicants for fall 2016.
One initial observation about this data is that while we are seeing a tiny uptick in overall applicants, there's a decline in applications, which suggests to me that students are feeling more confident in their applications. I was just having a conversation with a colleague about whether students were applying to fewer safety schools -- or choosing to apply to "safety" schools that are higher up on in the "hierarchy" than before. As I say, this is really preliminary. I think we'll know a lot more after the new year and the picture will be a lot clearer in April.
In the meantime, if you're interested in my thoughts on ranking law schools, here's a link to a paper I put up last summer that ranks law schools using median LSAT scores of their entering class in fall 2014, along with the percentage of their class of 2014 employed in full-time, JD-required jobs nine months after graduation, and recent citations to their flagship law reviews.