ABA Pauses Plans to Get Rid of LSAT
The American Bar Association has paused plans to get rid of the LSAT requirement in law school admissions.
Reuters reports that the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will review the decision to remove a long-standing rule mandating schools to utilize the LSAT or other standardized tests for student admissions. According to chair Joseph West, there is a possibility the council will no longer seek approval for this change from the ABA’s House of Delegates in August. This is contrary to their previous stance since voting to eliminate the rule in November.
While the council acknowledges that eliminating the testing requirement will give law schools more flexibility in admissions, “it wants to be sensitive and responsive to the concerns raised by law school deans and other stakeholders,” William Adams, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education, says.
WHAT DO BOTH SIDES SAY?
Proponents of dropping the LSAT requirement argue that doing so gives law schools more flexibility in how they recruit and admit students. Research also suggests that the LSAT requirement contributes to the lower acceptance rates of Black aspiring lawyers compared to their White counterparts.
On the other side, some are hesitant to rush change and argue that without a standardized test in admissions, law school student bodies could actually become less diverse as more emphasis is placed on other, more biased criteria.
“Every time I hear the word ‘flexibility,’ the hair goes up on my neck,” Paulette Brown, a delegate and former member of the bar association’s council, says. “Because when you talk about flexibility, that means subjectivity. And when you introduce subjectivity into any process, it provides too much opportunity for mischief.”
Currently, many law schools already allow applicants to submit GRE. score in lieu of the LSAT. Of about 200 law schools now accredited by the bar association, just over half accept applicants who have taken the G.R.E., according to Educational Testing Service.
Sources: Reuters, FIU Law Review, The New York Times, Educational Testing Service
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