Is the Trump administration’s early turmoil a gift to legal education? Pundits have speculated that Washington’s recent turbulence will spur a surge in law school applicants, given the armies of lawyers—hailed by many as defenders of democracy—that assembled at airports after President Trump’s so-called Muslim ban, reports Law.com. Despite the hype, most law schools have yet to see a significant Trump bump, though some report that recent political events are foremost in the minds of many applicants. Admissions officials at law schools that have seen an increase in applications say it’s difficult to attribute that rise to any one factor, but they allow that Trump is one of the many variables contributing to greater interest in the law, from both his supporters and those who oppose his policies.
If any school can make a case for a Trump bump, it may be George Washington University School of Law in Washington, D.C.,where applications are up 9 percent over last year. Admissions Dean Sophia Sim said the political climate has emerged as a major theme this admissions cycle. “I don’t know if it’s a D.C. thing, but we’ve seen an increase [in applications], and a number of people in their application essays have talked about wanting to become more involved,” Sim said. “We’ve seen a slight uptick in the number of people wanting to do immigration law or sharing something they’ve read about that got them fired up.” Applications are up only 1 percent this year at the nearby Georgetown University Law Center. “The noise about lawyers is much more positive right now,” said admissions dean Andrew Cornblatt. “Before, it was just negative noise.” Admissions deans predicted that any real law school admissions boost related to Trump would likely materialize next year. Trump’s inauguration and his controversial travel ban occurred late in the admissions cycle.