For the first time in about five years, the future of the law profession is looking bright.
Most law school admissions officers across the U.S. are expecting an increase in law school applications, according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2015 survey of law school admissions officers.
UF’s Levin College of Law is already seeing a spike in applications.
Their application was made available Sept. 1, and the school has already received 50 applications — double the amount received at this time last year, said Levin College of Law dean Laura Rosenbury.
"We are definitely hoping for a substantial increase in our applications," she said.
Out of all the admissions officers from the 120 law schools who responded to the Kaplan survey, 88 percent said they are expecting an increase in applications for the 2015-2016 application cycle. Kaplan’s 2014 survey reported 46 percent were confident they would see a spike.
Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs for Kaplan, said this prediction comes after the effects of the Great Recession have blown over. In the mid to late 2000s, law school applications soared.
But when those students graduated in 2011 and 2012, there were too many lawyers and not enough jobs.
Law school applications declined after this, so now the numbers of lawyers and jobs have balanced out, Thomas said.
"Students are starting to respond to that," he said. "They’re seeing that law school is a good investment again."
That investment is paying off for UF law students, who had an overall bar exam passing rate of 87.3 percent, the second highest in the state after Florida International University, which has a passing rate of 89 percent.
Rosenbury said she attributes the Law school’s success to UF’s commitment to teaching critical thinking skills.
Third-year UF law student Lindsey Boyle said she’s taking the Virginia bar exam next July, and she feels UF has prepared her well.
"The good thing about UF, probably the primary thing about it, is that it teaches national law," the 24-year-old said.
Rosenbury said she doesn’t think the college needs to improve its curriculum after seeing the successful bar exam results.
With the predicted increase in applications this year, she’s expecting to enroll students who are more qualified than previous classes.
Thomas said UF students should be aware that even though schools are expecting more applicants, they won’t be accepting more students.
"Students should be extra diligent, making sure they have awesome GPAs, great LSAT scores — all the things you want to do to put together a truly competitive and compelling application for law school," he said.