Are you an undergrad planning on going to law school? Need any more motivation to be a top student at your university? Depending on which university you are attending, your grades could help you avoid the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). This month, the University of Hawaii announced they would admit top students from their undergraduate program into their law school. They are the fifth school this year to make such announcement.
Hawaii Law is one of a growing number of law schools to take advantage of relaxed admission rules from the American Bar Association (ABA). In August, the ABA announced law schools could accept up to 10% of its incoming class with no LSAT score as long as the students had high undergraduate GPAs and standardized test scores (SATs and ACTs).
Specifically, the university will require undergrads to maintain at minimum 3.5 GPA and produce “high” SAT or ACT scores. The idea is, of course, to counter the fear of a brain drain in law schools, making the application process to law school more attractive and easy for the top students.
In February, the State University of New York-Buffalo Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law were the first two schools to announce they would make good on the new rule. Later, St. John’s University School of Law (in New York) and Drake University School of Law (Iowa) also announced they would accept top students from their undergraduate schools.
“The strategy behind the program is to identify good students, top-quality students, with a strong potential to succeed in law school,” James Gardner, dean at the University of Buffalo Law School, told Businessweek.
A representative from the Law School Admissions Council, which administers the test, told Businessweek they weren’t worried about fewer students taking the test because of the size of the programs. Not surprisingly, the schools opting to eliminate the LSAT for top candidates have suffered from plunging applicants. The University of Iowa, for example, saw applications numbers decrease by half from 2013 to 2010.
“For our high-achieving students, it’s an opportunity that we can give them to provide an easier path to law school,” Amy Beier, the admissions director at Iowa’s law school, told Businessweek when the school announced its program.
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