May 4, 2012
Should Law Schools Keep or Dump the LSAT: The ABA Isn't Sure Either
The American Bar Association’s Standards Review Committee of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is weighing whether to keep the LSAT as a requirement for law school admission. The Committee voted on April 27th for two alternatives: keeping some version of the requirement and/or eliminating it all together. At least that is what the ABA Journal is reporting. The story notes the “deep division” by committee members on the utility of the LSAT as a predictor of success in the first year f law school. Even if the test is a good predictor, the ABA has issued variances to schools allowing for students to be admitted without it.
Those seeking to eliminate the test as a requirement say that the variances undermine the need for the test in the first place. All true, I suppose, but eliminating the test simply puts greater emphasis on a prospective law student’s GPA, the quality of their undergraduate program, the essay on what motivated the application, and of course their ability to write checks. Is this enough to determine who qualifies for financial aid?
A lot of the commentary out there suggests that schools with an interest in promoting their rankings would keep the test even if the ABA rules do not require it. That makes sense as a high average LSAT for an incoming class gives a school bragging rights. Other schools that simply want to fill their available seats may want to dump the LSAT. This discussion has been ongoing for several years now. I’m not sure myself which is the best approach. As with anything with the image of individual law schools, keep if it enhances, discard or downplay if it doesn’t. I suppose that is why there will never be consensus on the issue.
More discussion on this is available at the LSAT Blog (not from the Law School Admission Council). There is an LSAC Statement of Good Admission and Financial Aid Practices which Council says should guide law school admissions and financial aid programs using the LSAT. We know where the LSAC likely stands on this proposal. [MG]