Paul L. Caron

Thursday, December 5, 2013

ABA Censures, Fines Rutgers-Camden for Using Graduate Admissions Tests Rather Than LSAT

Rutgers Camden LogoThe Accreditation Committee of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar yesterday publicly censured Rutgers-Camden and imposed a $25,000 fine for the law school's use of standardized graduate admissions tests (GRE, GMAT, MCAT) in lieu of the LSAT in admitting up to 10% of the 1L class from 2006 to 2012 without seeking guidance from the Consultant’s Office and/or the Committee or requesting a variance from Standard 503 (requiring the use of a valid and reliable admission test) and Interpretation 503-1 (requiring a law school using an admission test other than the LSAT to establish the validity and reliability of the other test).

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I graduated Rutgers Camden Law in 2008. I knew there had to be a reason why our bar passage rates that year were so low compared to other area law schools like Villanova's and Temple's.

Say what you want, but the LSAT is a very difficult exam. . . . just like the bar exam. If you want to say doing well on the LSAT doesn't dictate how well you'll do in practice, that's fine. Fact is, that if you don't pass the bar exam, you'll never get into practice. Maybe it's not such a bad thing for applicants to have to prove they can study and do well on a very hard test like the LSAT that is geared toward legal thinking. . . . Just a thought.

Posted by: Pretty egregious if you ask me | Dec 23, 2013 3:07:37 PM

Do we even know how well these people did on the GMAT, GRE, or MCAT?

Posted by: HTA | Dec 6, 2013 8:00:53 AM

I concur wholeheartedly with Jason Y., first comment.

Posted by: Tom N | Dec 6, 2013 7:33:23 AM

My law school did not admit me based on my LSAT results. Instead it relied solely on the fact I had a graduate degree. I passed the Bar and have been practicing successfully for 25 years.

Posted by: Andrew | Dec 5, 2013 5:41:08 PM

Rutgers is very smart about this. It can get applications from PhD students and recent PhD's who have high enough test scores that they will be extremely attractive students but who aren't serious enough about applying to law schools to want to study many hours for the LSAT and then spend $160 for the test. Instead, the PhD can apply to law school first and then do the hard thinking about whether law school is actually worth doing.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Dec 5, 2013 12:55:41 PM

Yawn. What's the difference? If you performed well on the GMAT or the GRE, chances are you're smart enough to handle the workload in law school. This is one of those things only insiders get bent out of shape over, like plagiarism or bringing plastic knives to school. It makes these people seem like real ninnies.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating plagiarism in the context of education. But if Rand Paul is sloppy about footnoting something, I don't really see what the big deal is.

Posted by: Danny K. | Dec 5, 2013 12:53:38 PM

The real question is did these students perform worse, the same or better than those that entered via the LSAT. My guess would be that they will show the same statistical fit as those who took the LSAT

Posted by: chemman | Dec 5, 2013 12:36:58 PM

LOL....fine gets paid by admitting one more student, even if that student drops out after a year. Nice job ABA. Good lookin out.

Posted by: No, breh. | Dec 5, 2013 11:57:54 AM

The solution for this is to count those 10% of the students as having an LSAT score of zero, and then have US News count it accordingly in the rankings.

Posted by: JKP | Dec 5, 2013 11:11:54 AM

Be curious to know the success rate of those admitted without LSATs as opposed to those admitted with it. In the end, it's all about maintaining the lawyers' monopoly anyway.

Posted by: mkbar | Dec 5, 2013 10:26:27 AM

One more organisation that thinks strict obedience to it is more important than the cause(s) it ostensibly exists to futher.

Posted by: DWPittelli | Dec 5, 2013 10:24:29 AM

That is a blatant attempt at monopolization by the ABA. Rutgers should sue the ABA under the Sherman Act for treble damages and attorney's fees.

Posted by: Walter Sobchak | Dec 5, 2013 10:05:34 AM

Sounds like a good investment to me if it netted them 10% of their 1L class for 6 years for just $25K. A law school is demonstrating that crime pays.

Posted by: Pablo panadero | Dec 5, 2013 9:38:14 AM

I'd like to see a list of every law school with a variance under 503.

Posted by: Kevin Outterson | Dec 5, 2013 8:00:49 AM

It'd be interesting to know how they performed.

Posted by: Andre L. Smith | Dec 5, 2013 7:42:42 AM

$25,000? That's like one student's tuition for one year. Wow, ABA, way to drop the hammer.

Posted by: Bobby Dobb | Dec 5, 2013 7:15:03 AM

To put this fine in perspective, Rutgers-Camden's resident tuition this year is $22,746. Non-resident tuition is $34,478. (Notably, the fine for massively overstating their graduates' prospects or massively understating their graduates' indebtedness is still zero.)

Posted by: Morse Code for J | Dec 5, 2013 6:57:08 AM

A better use of the fine would be for the ABA to conduct a study demonstrating whether there is any harm whatsoever to using GRE/GMAT or other tests in lieu of the LSAT. Rather than demanding that law schools justify departing from the LSAT, I would prefer the burden be placed on the monopolist (the LSAC, or, here, its surrogate) himself to justify the continuation of the monopoly.

Posted by: Jason Yackee | Dec 5, 2013 6:30:45 AM