Number of GRE students climbs

It was five years ago this past February that a law school broke with legal education tradition and decided to consider a new kind of student: The nerd. 

While that may be an embellishment — just a wee bit of one — the move by the University of Arizona James E. Rogers School of Law to accept GRE scores in lieu of the LSAT was done in part to attract students who excelled in math and sciences. 

It made sense in other ways too. The pool of applicants suddenly was enlarged — a lot more people take the GRE compared to the LSAT — at a time when law schools were struggling to get applicants.

And, as the University of Arizona’s website notes, people with math and engineering skills can flourish in law:

“For students in STEM fields, in particular, there are unique opportunities in intellectual property and other legal and policy issues raised by science and technology. There are a wide range of fields, including the social and behavioral sciences, as well as business and psychology, where the study of law can enrich scholarship and create new and wider job options.”

The idea caught on. Today, nearly 70 law schools accept GRE scores, including a couple of good ones such as Harvard Law School. It had done a study that showed the test did just as well as predicting first-year law school success as the LSAT. Other studies have reached similar conclusions. 

The American Bar Association tracks the number of such students at the nation’s law schools. And, not surprisingly, as the number of schools that accept such students grows, so does the number of nerds — oops — GRE students.

In the 2020 Class, nearly 200 GRE students were enrolled in the nation’s law schools. Georgetown University Law Center leads the way with 44 students. However the Washington, D.C., school is the nation’s largest, so that could be one reason for its number. It accepts only about 20% of GRE applicants. 

However, Georgetown was one of the nation’s first to accept the GRE and has been a leader in embracing technology when it comes to its impact on law. It was ranked No. 2 in a recent preLaw magazine analysis of Best Schools for Legal Technology. 

Suffolk University School of Law in Boston was ranked No. 1 and has 15 GRE students. However, it accepts them at a near 70% clip, the highest among all law schools.

Many of the law schools earning honors in preLaw’s analysis had high GRE acceptance rates. Brooklyn Law School, for instance, had a near 50% rate. It finished 10th in preLaw’s ranking. 

The University of Arizona continues to be a leader in enrolling such students. For the Class of 2020, it has 20. 

Meanwhile, the number of schools accepting the GRE continues to grow. New England Law | Boston announced earlier this year it would do so. 

“With the pandemic, economic uncertainty and social unrest, there is a heightened interest in studying law,” said John Chalmers, dean of admissions. “By accepting GRE scores on our application, we hope to encourage even more students to pursue their passion.” 

School: 2020 First Year Class

Acceptance Rate

GRE Enrolled

CORNELL UNIVERSITY

19.03

10

PENNSYLVANIA STATE - DICKINSON LAW

38.6

10

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA 

14.3

10

UC LOS ANGELES 

22.75

11

YALE LAW SCHOOL

7.4

11

CALIFORNIA WESTERN SCHOOL OF LAW

53

12

BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL

48.83

13

UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON

36.21

13

CALIFORNIA-HASTINGS, UNIVERSITY OF

38.66

15

CHICAGO-KENT COLLEGE OF LAW-

47.02

15

UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

56.92

15

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

19.2

15

SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY

69.37

15

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

21.58

16

JOHN MARSHALL LAW SCHOOL

56.94

17

COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL

16.69

18

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

27.74

20

UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO-SUNY

44.87

21

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

40.3

24

HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

13

36

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

20.1

44