In this post, we are going to take a look at dropout rates for law schools. Dropouts are significant because generally, they mean one or both of a couple things: either the student feels him or herself unequal to the challenge presented by the law school environment, or the prospect of mounting debt and a poor employment outlook compel the student to bail out. In either case, dropouts are left having paid a significant sum for no tangible benefit.

Needless to say, in an ideal system there would be few to no dropouts. That isn’t the system we have. Although one part of the law school system, schools with high median LSATs, is functioning well, with minimal attrition, the rear of the pack is not.

As law schools generally lowered admissions standards in the decade since the recession, dropout rates increased. Stephanie Ward of the ABA gives us a good breakdown of figures from recent years:

At law schools with median LSAT scores between 155 to 159, the average academic attrition rate for the 2014-2015 school year was 2.0 percent. For the 2015-2016 school year, it was 1.8 percent.

For law schools with median LSAT scores between 150 to 154, academic attrition for the 2014-2015 school year averaged out to 4.7 percent, and 4.6 percent for the 2015-2016 school year.

At law schools with median LSAT scores below 150 but above 145, academic attrition went from 12.7 percent for the 2014-2015 school year to 14.3 percent for the 2015-2016 school year.

And among law schools where the median LSAT score was 145 or lower, the average academic attrition rate for the 2015-2016 school year was 25.3 percent.

“Is sweet spot for avoiding academic attrition at law schools a median LSAT of at least 150?” ABA Journal, January 16, 2018

Although attrition is apparently stabilizing, these numbers should be of great concern to anyone thinking about attending a lower ranked school. An LSAT below 150 may be a good indicator that someone is not sufficiently likely to benefit from attending law school, as there is a high chance of getting nothing for the effort.

What is the Best Analog Watch for the LSAT? Click Here to Find Out

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Taking a look at the data below, attrition is minimal through about the top 100 schools, then increases precipitously. Compare this list to our list of LSAT and GPA medians for ABA-approved schools, and you’ll see an incredibly strong correlation between lower medians and higher dropout rates.

Though the ABA has failed to take significant action so far, there has been extensive discussion of schools with unacceptably high dropout rates losing accreditation.

Law School1L Dropout Rate %
Arizona Summit65.31%
Florida Coastal School of Law38.68%
North Carolina Central University School of Law28.92%
Thomas Jefferson School of Law26.51%
University of San Francisco23.78%
Capital University Law School23.27%
Widener University21.09%
Liberty University School of Law20.55%
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School19.44%
Elon University School of Law18.84%
St. Thomas (Florida)17.84%
Florida A&M University College of Law17.57%
California Western School of Law17.49%
Ohio Northern University (Pettit)17.31%
Southwestern Law School17.27%
University of Dayton17.20%
Faulkner University16.90%
Nova Southeastern University–Shepard Broad College of Law16.37%
University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth16.25%
Florida International University16.11%
University of Memphis (Humphreys)15.89%
Western State College of Law at Argosy15.85%
Ave Maria School of Law15.46%
Howard University15.17%
Golden Gate University School of Law15.05%
Touro College–Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center14.69%
UNT Dallas14.42%
St. Mary’s University14.09%
Western Michigan University (Cooley)13.97%
South Texas College of Law13.85%
Appalachian School of Law13.70%
New York Law School13.26%
University of the Pacific (McGeorge)13.16%
Texas Tech University12.95%
Regent University School of Law12.90%
University of Arkansas—Little Rock (Bowen)12.86%
Northern Kentucky University12.84%
New England Law— Boston12.43%
University of the District of Columbia11.83%
Campbell University11.80%
Suffolk University11.76%
Syracuse University11.17%
Georgia State University11.05%
University of Missouri10.87%
Duquesne University10.81%
Mercer University (George)10.66%
Texas Southern University–Thurgood Marshall10.55%
University of South Dakota10.53%
Southern University Law Center10.50%
Concordia University School of Law10.42%
Barry University10.29%
Northern Illinois University10.20%
Widener University Delaware10.19%
University of Idaho9.91%
Belmont University College of Law9.82%
Oklahoma City University9.82%
University of Toledo9.78%
Texas A&M University9.42%
Inter American University School of Law9.28%
Seattle University9.14%
University of Akron8.81%
Southern Illinois University Carbondale8.77%
Washburn University8.77%
Charleston School of Law8.76%
CUNY8.60%
University of Arkansas—Fayetteville8.40%
Mississippi College School of Law8.40%
Cleveland State University8.33%
University of San Diego8.33%
Pepperdine University8.28%
Case Western Reserve University8.21%
Seton Hall University8.12%
University of New Hampshire8.11%
Lincoln Memorial University8.00%
University of La Verne College of Law7.95%
University of Denver (Sturm)7.66%
Gonzaga University7.56%
University of Baltimore7.54%
Western New England University7.53%
Roger Williams University School of Law7.45%
Pace University6.85%
Santa Clara University6.82%
Hofstra University (Deane)6.80%
Albany Law School6.67%
Creighton University6.54%
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law6.54%
University of Kansas6.54%
Brooklyn Law School6.50%
Michigan State University6.39%
Chapman University (Fowler)5.99%
John Marshall Law School5.98%
Drexel University5.96%
Pennsylvania State University5.88%
Catholic University of America5.83%
Drake University5.83%
Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago-Kent)5.68%
Quinnipiac University5.60%
LSU — Baton Rouge (Hebert)5.59%
Loyola Marymount University5.21%
Mitchell Hamline5.10%
University of Oregon4.86%
Marquette University4.84%
St. Louis University4.76%
Samford University (Cumberland)4.73%
University of South Carolina4.65%
Arizona State University (O’Connor)4.63%
University of Nebraska—Lincoln4.55%
Willamette University (Collins)4.55%
Loyola University New Orleans4.52%
University of Puerto Rico4.42%
University of Tulsa4.26%
University of Alabama4.03%
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, School of Law4.00%
University of California (Hastings)3.99%
George Mason University3.98%
Loyola University Chicago3.88%
Vermont Law School3.73%
Valparaiso University Law School3.57%
University of Mississippi3.54%
University of Maine3.53%
Stetson University3.37%
Southern Methodist University (Dedman)3.37%
University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign3.27%
Yeshiva University (Cardozo)3.26%
Ohio State University (Moritz)3.26%
DePaul University3.21%
Baylor University2.99%
Brigham Young University (Clark)2.97%
University of Nevada—Las Vegas2.86%
University of Louisville (Brandeis)2.84%
SUNY Buffalo Law School2.78%
Temple University (Beasley)2.69%
Washington University at St. Louis2.67%
University of Kentucky2.65%
University of California—Davis2.65%
University of Georgia2.65%
University of Oklahoma2.52%
University of Tennessee—Knoxville2.44%
Washington and Lee University2.44%
University of California—Los Angeles2.38%
University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill2.35%
Villanova University2.29%
George Washington University2.21%
University of Utah (Quinney)2.20%
University of Hawaii—Manoa (Richardson)2.13%
University of Pittsburgh2.13%
Emory University2.10%
University of Cincinnati2.08%
Indiana University—Indianapolis (McKinney)2.08%
University of Virginia1.88%
University of Miami1.86%
Indiana University—Bloomington (Maurer)1.85%
West Virginia University1.83%
University of Richmond (Williams)1.74%
Rutgers—Newark1.73%
Florida State University1.68%
University of Missouri—Kansas City1.64%
University of Southern California (Gould)1.60%
University of Minnesota—Twin Cities1.53%
University of Iowa1.53%
Tulane University1.44%
Harvard University1.43%
University of Wyoming1.39%
Georgetown University1.37%
Penn State Dickinson1.37%
University of St. Thomas1.37%
Wayne State University1.36%
University of Florida (Levin)1.33%
University of Wisconsin—Madison1.32%
University of California—Berkeley1.32%
University of California — Irvine1.26%
University of Arizona (Rogers)1.25%
University of Michigan—Ann Arbor1.25%
Fordham University1.22%
St. John’s University1.20%
Stanford University1.11%
University of Colorado—Boulder1.05%
University of Notre Dame1.01%
University of Maryland (Carey)0.97%
New York University0.94%
University of Pennsylvania0.82%
Boston College0.79%
American University (Washington)0.72%
University of Connecticut0.69%
University of Texas—Austin0.65%
Wake Forest University0.64%
University of Washington0.60%
Lewis & Clark College (Northwestern)0.59%
William and Mary0.54%
University of Houston0.44%
Boston University0.42%
Columbia University0.26%
University of Chicago0.00%
Cornell University0.00%
Duke University0.00%
University of Montana0.00%
University of New Mexico0.00%
University of North Dakota0.00%
Northeastern University0.00%
Northwestern University0.00%
Vanderbilt University0.00%
Yale University0.00%