Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Arizona Is First Law School To Admit Students Based On GRE Instead Of LSAT

GREFollowing up on my previous posts:

National Law Journal, Arizona College of Law Will Accept GRE Instead of LSAT:

No LSAT score? No problem—at least at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

The law school in Tucson will become the first to accept applications from prospective students who have taken the GRE General Test instead of the LSAT, administrators announced Wednesday.

Effectively immediately, the school will consider either LSAT or GRE scores in admissions, a move the law school’s dean, Marc Miller, said would help it reach a broader pool of would-be applicants. That, in turn, should result in a stronger student body, he added. ...

The school made the decision to accept the GRE after a study conducted by Educational Testing Services, which administers the GRE, concluded that the test, coupled with undergraduate grade-point average, is as reliable as the LSAT in predicting the taker’s success in the first year of law school. ...

Loyola University Chicago School of Law Dean David Yellen predicted that other law schools will follow Arizona’s lead if the school is able to bring in a larger—and stronger—applicant pool as a result of accepting the alternative test.

“I think this will potentially be a major change in legal education,” Yellen said. “If Arizona is successful using a different test, there will be a lot of pressure on other schools to move in that direction.”

Nearly 100 current Arizona law students and recent graduates took the GRE in November. Educational Testing Services analyzed their scores, along with their LSAT scores and law school grades, and found that the GRE did slightly better than the LSAT in predicting first-year grades. ...

Any mass move away from the LSAT by law schools would create headaches for both the Law School Admission Council and U.S. News & World Report, which heavily weights LSAT scores in its annual law school rankings, Yellen said. Moreover, Arizona’s move to accept the GRE raises questions about the why the ABA is essentially mandating the LSAT at all, he said.

“The ABA is the only accrediting body in the U.S. that requires the use of a standardized test,” Yellen said. “I’m not sure why legal education is so unique in that regard. All medical schools may use the MCAT, but not because they are required to.”

Update:  Above the Law, Law School To Accept GREs In Order To Corner The Market On Mediocrities

Legal Education | Permalink


"The LSAT does not seem to be predictive of law school outcome any more than the bar exam is indicative of practice performance."

Funny, I find bar exam failure to be a 100% predictor of practice performance: they can't practice.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 11, 2016 9:17:34 PM

I believe the only predictive reliance that can be determined by the LSAT is the ability of the examinee to navigate a standardized test. Thus, the ability of the examinee may infer an ability to navigate the uniformity of the test promulgated by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. As the ABA is seemingly invested in seeing a Uniform Bar Exam (assumed to do away with jurisdictional specific testing), the LSAT may be a corollary.

The LSAT does not seem to be predictive of law school outcome any more than the bar exam is indicative of practice performance.

Posted by: Tom N. | Feb 11, 2016 2:58:43 PM

The LSAT is a much more rigorous test. Does that not matter at all?

Posted by: Mike Petrik | Feb 11, 2016 12:42:42 PM

I, for one, am against law schools' incessant, thinly veiled ploys to tap the federal loan keg at all costs, in order to survive. Broadening the pool to GRE takers is just a way to mitigate lost revenue from the otherwise low applicant pool. Many law schools should do what a number of self-respecting Dentistry schools did back in the 1980's - close. But they won't, legal profession be damned.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 11, 2016 12:40:02 PM


I have no problem with GRE per se, but Legal Ed has shown that it cares about butts in seats rather than the profession. I view it with a level of skepticism with which I would view Countrywide Financial's calls for an alternative to the ratings agencies on subprime debt.

Posted by: Jojo | Feb 11, 2016 10:18:04 AM

I'm really puzzled by the law school scam crowd's resistance to this kind of move. The LSAT is an artificial monopoly, indefesibly imposed upon law schools by an over-reaching ABA, that places considerable inconveniences and expenses on the backs of law school applicants. LSAC and the ABA have done virtually nothing – for obvious reasons, in the case of the LSAC, whose leadership makes enormous salaries from student fees– to explore alternatives to the expensive and inconvenient LSAT that might be more or less as useful in screening out hopeless law students. Part of Arizona’s motivation is surely to “game” USNWR, but so what? USNWR is about as socially useful here as is the ABA.

Posted by: Jason Yackee | Feb 11, 2016 9:49:39 AM

This won't get too too far without reworking ABA Standard 503 and the accompanying Interpretation 503-3.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 11, 2016 9:47:15 AM

Cooley wants to let people in based on blood type. Anything to keep the 'can barely fog a mirror' LSAT scores off their public disclosures.

Posted by: terry malloy | Feb 11, 2016 8:32:09 AM

Legal Ed is incorrigible.

Posted by: Jojo | Feb 11, 2016 3:26:03 AM