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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

ABA Considers Tossing LSAT Requirement, Disagreement Ensues

GRELSAT2Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Law.com, ABA Considers Tossing LSAT Requirement, Disagreement Ensues:

The debate over the GRE in law school admissions is headed to Washington this week.

The American Bar Association is holding a public hearing April 12 on a proposed change to its law school standards that would drop the requirement that schools use the Law School Admission Test when selecting students.

Proponents and opponents of the change have already laid out their arguments in written comments submitted before the hearing, and the legal academy appears markedly split on the issue. Unsurprisingly, the organizations behind both standardized tests are at odds over whether the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar should eliminate the LSAT rule.

The Law School Admission Council argued that the LSAT requirement benefits schools by offering a reliable predictor of whether applicants will succeed on campus, while also protecting the consumer interest of weak candidates by signaling that they will likely struggle should they enroll—and assume debt in the process.

“No one wins if this decision turns out poorly—not law school candidates, not law schools and certainly not the consuming public,” warned LSAC president Kellye Testy in a 10-page letter urging the ABA council to conduct further study on the admission test matter before voting on the proposal.

Educational Testing Service, which administers the Graduate Record Examination, countered that law schools need greater flexibility in admissions to combat a long-term decline in applications. The GRE is used for admissions to most graduate programs outside of law, business and medicine, and is offered on a rolling basis throughout the year, unlike the LSAT’s six annual test dates.

“ETS commends the ABA for its efforts to innovate law school admissions and hopes the council will approve revisions to the standards that give institutions flexibility in determining how to address the challenges that the legal profession faces and meet their obligation to enroll candidates they believe are capable of satisfactory program completion,” reads the letter from ETS vice president David Payne.

But groups within and outside the academy that are devoted to teaching, diversity and other education matters are coming down on both sides of the issue, at times citing the exact same goals to support their opposing positions.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2018/04/aba-considers-tossing-lsat-requirement-disagreement-ensues.html

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Comments

"The Law School Admission Council argued that the LSAT requirement benefits schools by offering a reliable predictor of whether applicants will succeed on campus, while also protecting the consumer interest of weak candidates by signaling that they will likely struggle should they enroll—and assume debt in the process."

How so? Does LSAC call students who get a 139 and tell them "You really shouldn't borrow $200k to attend [the dozen or so schools where this score is not uncommon]?" Because the enrollment data would suggest otherwise. For that matter I scored around the 90th percentile on the LSAT back in the day and I can't give my resume away.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Apr 10, 2018 8:32:00 AM

Quote: Educational Testing Service, which administers the Graduate Record Examination, countered that law schools need greater flexibility in admissions to combat a long-term decline in applications.

Translation: Law schools are looking for a way to lower their admission standards.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Apr 10, 2018 10:39:33 AM