Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Plan to drop law school entry exam requirement withdrawn before ABA House vote

There has been a lot of talk about dropping the entry test requirement for law school.  The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has withdrawn this proposal, at least for the present.

ABA Journal, Plan to drop law school entry exam requirement withdrawn before ABA House vote.

"The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar withdrew a resolution before the ABA House of Delegates on Monday that called for cutting Standard 503, which requires an exam for law school admission, and beefing up Standard 501 to include the use of admission credentials and academic attrition when determining accreditation compliance."

"The current version of Standard 503 requires that law schools using alternate admissions tests to the LSAT demonstrate that the alternate exams are valid and reliable in determining whether a candidate can successfully complete the school’s legal education program."

"On Friday, the Young Lawyers Division Assembly voted against changing the test requirement. And as Monday’s House session began, a March 2018 letter was circulated on the House floor from the Minority Network, a group of law school admissions professionals, saying the LSAT is better than any other admissions test in predicting whether a candidate will succeed in law school.

“We agree outcomes are important,” the letter said, “but if the outcomes include removing objective measures of student potential for success, and if outcomes include the potential for students who do gain access to law school to amass life-changing debt before they discover they may not succeed in passing the bar, gain employment or vet a sincere interest in the law, then we believe a departure from Standard 503 could cause great harm to students in general.”

"It was signed by 36 people, including admissions personnel from law schools at Howard University, the University of California at Irvine and Boston College."

"And Barry Currier, managing director of accreditation and legal education, said in a statement: 'The concerns that our delegates heard from other members of the House will be reported to the council, and the council will determine how it wishes to proceed.'"

(Scott Fruehwald)


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This is not surprising. The LSAT tests skills that are relevant to law school (e.g., analytical and logical reasoning), is a reasonable predictor of first-year performance, and, when combined with cumulative law school GPA, is reasonably predictive of bar passage. Thus, the arguments in favor of eliminating the LSAT, particularly given the poor bar passage rates of graduates with low LSAT scores, is unpersuasive.

Posted by: Adam Lamparello | Aug 8, 2018 11:16:33 AM

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