Paul L. Caron

Monday, December 18, 2017

Nick Allard And David Brennen Continue The GRE/LSAT Debate

GRELSATNick Allard (Dean, Brooklyn) and David Brennen (Dean, Kentucky) weigh in on last week's post, Kent Syverud And Dan Rodriguez On The GRE/LSAT Debate:

Nick Allard (Dean, Brooklyn):

I embrace and completely agree with Dan's and David's responses to Kent, and thank them for stating their position ever so much more eloquently, diplomatically, and persuasively than I could possibly have done.

For the record, contrary to Kent's suggestion, I have not, nor has anyone at Brooklyn Law School, been "pitched" by ETS, nor have we decided to begin to consider GREs in a measured way as a reaction to any kind of pressure. As I mentioned to some of you a few years ago when a portion of an "all deans' meeting" was devoted to discussing how deans should deal with stress, I didn't quite understand the exercise because I give rather than get stress. Seriously, at BLS, as I assume at many schools, we have given the question of whether to rely on another entrance test in addition to the LSAT very careful fact based consideration over quite a long period of time. Our decision is also based on our view of the breadth of ability, knowledge and skills that are now useful and in demand for our graduates in the new world of law, in contrast to what that world looked like, and what conventional wisdom about legal education was when the LSAT was designed. Frankly, it is much harder to come up with plausible reasons why not to consider in a careful fashion the GREs of candidates than it is to continue to rely on the LSATs exclusively.

As someone who worked professionally as a lawyer lobbyist for the better part of three decades I appreciate and respect fine lobbying, including the use of highly effective surrogates like Kent who we all justifiably admire. In fact, I frequently encountered while representing clients on the other side of monopolies in the telephone, cable television, and pharmaceutical industries the monopolies' arguments that their monopoly was good for the public because they alone uniquely knew what was best for consumers and what consumers needed and also that the advent of competition would necessarily cause them to cut quality and services. However, the fact is that competition and choice are good. I credit Kellye Testy, our highly regarded former colleague and leader, contrary to Kent's suggestion, for finally beginning to improve LSACs service and performance and bringing it more into the 21st century -- precisely because of the prospect of competition.

A final note. It is my understanding that LSAC is a membership organization. Accordingly it is curious that a membership organization might in making the case about the superiority of its product cast aspersions on the motives of its members ( i.e. Its members choosing the GRE are trying to manipulate rankings ), its members' good faith ( trying to fill seats with less qualified students ), and their competence ( that schools , say for example, schools other than so-called elite schools cannot be expected to be able to make sensible admissions decisions without being tied to the LSAT).

David Brennen (Dean. Kentucky)

I couldn't agree with you more on this. It is indeed strange to, say the least, that Kent made this statement as opposed to Kellye (the one about potential reductions in LSAC support of its law school members). I wholeheartedly agree that LSAC should re-assess its business model in light current realities. This reassessment may result in less financial support of law school admission related activities. However, that sort of decision should be based upon a complete of analysis of all that has occurred in the legal education environment over the past decade, and not simply the increase in the number of law schools that adopt the GRE as an admissions assessment tool.

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"[I]t is curious that a membership organization might in making the case about the superiority of its product cast aspersions on the motives of... its members' good faith ( trying to fill seats with less qualified students )"

Heh. One waits for LSAC to cast a single negative word about law schools with 142 median LSAT scores or 25th percentiles in the 130s (a performance level barely above randomly filling in the bubble sheet).

"LSAC should re-assess its business model in light of current realities..."

Like how per its 2016 IRS Form 990 its sits on $205 million in net assets and net revenue after expenses is north of one million? That seems pretty healthy for a non-profit organization (that sits on a monopoly) and has a fairly small staff, even if they possess many VP and executive types pulling $250k, $300k, $350k, all the way up to nearly $700k in salary.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Dec 18, 2017 3:06:11 PM