Paul L. Caron

Saturday, December 18, 2021

The Use Of The GRE In Law School Admissions After The ABA's Green Light

Following up on my previous post, ABA Permits Law Schools To Accept GRE Scores In Lieu Of The LSAT:, 'Murkiness' of ABA Data Could Slow Law Schools' Adoption of the GRE:

The American Bar Association released law schools’ 509 Reports for 2021 on Wednesday, and while it’s no shock that enrollment for 2021 far exceeded enrollment for 2020, what does seem surprising is that the number of schools that accepted applicants based on Graduate Record Examination appears much lower when compared to 2020 509 Reports.

When generated a report for all ABA-accredited schools, it found only 12 law schools had GRE-enrolled students in 2021 as compared to 21 schools in 2022.

However, when separate 509 Reports for each of those 12 schools were generated, GRE enrollment information was missing for several of them.

According to the ABA, the discrepancy is the result of a programming error, which is being worked on.

Starting with the 2020 509s, law schools were mandated to include on their 509s students who are enrolled using the GRE. However, the ABA only publishes GRE information for schools that enrolled 10 or more students using the GRE, according to the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar., The ABA's Approval of the GRE 'Caught Everybody Off Guard'—But Will It Be a Game Changer?:

In a surprising move, the American Bar Association has opened the door for law schools across the country to begin accepting applicants’ scores from Graduate Record Examinations. But whether the GRE will ever achieve anything close to equal footing with the more traditional Law School Admissions Test depends on a number of hard-to-predict factors, according to observers.

The Council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in November “voted to permit law schools to accept GRE test scores from applicants in lieu of an LSAT score under Standard 503,” according to the ABA’s summary of the council’s actions.

“The ruling caught everybody off guard,” Jeff Thomas, Kaplan’s executive director of legal programs, told on Thursday.

Before the council’s ruling last month, law schools wanting to accept GRE scores for admission had to individually submit a validity study to the council. ...

The ABA’s ruling means law schools can use the GRE, without having to do a validity study, though schools can still choose to only accept the LSAT.

There are 77 law schools—out of 199 law schools that are approved by the ABA to confer the J.D. degree—including 12 of the top 14, currently accepting GRE scores for their J.D. programs, according to the Educational Testing Service. University of California, Berkeley School of Law and the University of Michigan Law School are the two T14s currently not accepting the GRE., The ABA's Ruling on GREs Is a 'Huge Development' That Raises Huge Questions:

It was illuminating to speak to Marc Miller, dean and Ralph W. Bilby Professor of Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, who was the catalyst for the ABA first allowing law schools to accept the GRE, on a case-by-case basis, five years ago.

Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) David Yellen told on Friday that “all of legal education owes a debt of gratitude to Marc Miller.”

Miller told me about all the risks he took to make the acceptance of GRE scores in the law school admission process a reality.

“It’s a huge development,” Miller told on Friday. “It’s thrilling to see the Council clarifying it.” ...

[S]tudents who were accepted due to their GRE score, will have their LSAT score reported on the 509. Thus, if they did take both tests, their LSAT would affect the median LSAT score on the 509.

A student accepted with a high GRE score and a low LSAT score will impact the median score of the LSAT, Miller said, but added that he doesn’t see this as an issue. ...

 for 2020, there were 21 law schools, out of 77 who do accept GRE scores, that reported accepting students based on their GRE score. That figure seems surprisingly low.

I reviewed each of these 21 law schools’ 509 reports. I took the “number enrolled” for GRE and divided it by the “total in first-year class,” to come up with approximate percentages of students accepted based on the GRE for each school.

 Law School % of 1L Class Accepted with GRE
University of Arizona 17%
Brooklyn 3%
CA-Western 5%
CA—Hastings  4%
CA—Los Angeles    3.5%
Chicago-Kent 6.3%
Columbia 4.5%
Cornell 6%
Dayton        8%
Georgetown        7%
Harvard 7%
Hawaii   22%
John Marshall          5%
New Hampshire 8%
NYU     4%
Northwestern 6%
Penn State-Dickinson 12%
University of Pennsylvania 4%
Suffolk      3.7%
SUNY-Buffalo 13%
Yale     5%

ABA Journal, With GRE Restrictions Lifted For Law Schools, Some Urge Caution:

As of November, ABA-accredited law schools can accept the Graduate Record Examination from applicants in lieu of the Law School Admission Test, and some wonder if those with the financial resources will purchase test prep classes for both and submit their best score.

That’s a terrible idea, says Jeff Thomas, executive director of legal programs at the test prep company Kaplan.

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