The legal profession

Economics students are increasingly enrolling in law school

The economics major is one of many common paths to law school. The Law School Admission Council provides the official guide to law schools for the American Bar Association. The Guide emphasizes extensive reading and library research, skill in synthesizing large amounts of information, and logical thinking. In addition to general skills, the Guide points to breadth of knowledge of history, politics, finance, human behavior, and diverse cultures.

Many careers in law involve shaping economic decisions. Writing and interpreting contracts, supporting mergers and acquisitions, dealing with the tax system, addressing disputes of workers, landlords, and vendors; all involve decisions with significant economic content and implications.

A recent analysis of scores on the LSAT test for law school admission reported for students who apply to at least one ABA accredited law school shows economic majors earned relatively high mean LSAT scores as shown in table 2. The LSAT score ranges from 120 to 180 with mean and median near 151. The first quartile is near 144 and the third quartile is near 157; the 90th percentile is about 165. The LSAT score along with undergraduate grade point average and the quality of the undergraduate college are important influences in the admissions decisions of competitive law schools.

Table 2: Average LSAT Scores by Major, 2012-13.

Rank

Major Field

Average Score

No. of Students

1

Economics

159.1

2,468

2

Philosophy

158.8

1,879

3

Engineering

157.3

1,127

4

History

156.7

3,323

5

English

155.8

3,728

6

Finance

154.6

1,817

7

Political Science

154.3

12,215

8

Psychology

153.3

3,335

9

Accounting

153.1

1,106

10

Marketing

152.2

1,106

11

Liberal Arts

151.9

1,177

12

Communications

151.6

1,729

Source: Michael Nieswiadomy, "LSAT Scores of Economics Majors: The 2012-13 Class Update," Journal of Economic Education 45 #1, Jan 2014. Pp. 71-74 and “Law School Admission Test,” Wikipedia, viewed Sept. 2, 2014.

Among the six disciplines with more than 2,000 students taking the LSAT, the 2,468 economics majors received the highest average score at 159.1 as shown in the table. Looking more broadly at groups of similar majors with at least 325 takers in each group, economics ranked second behind physics/math (418 takers with mean 161.7) and just ahead of philosophy/religion (2,174 takers with mean 158.6).