ABA Considers New Law School Admissions Standards

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 12, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As more law schools accept alternative admissions tests, the American Bar Association is considering doing away with the tests entirely.

The Law School Admissions Test has been the standard for generations, but some law schools have started accepting the Graduate Records Exam. An ABA committee has proposed three alternatives for law schools: continue accepting the LSAT; accept alternatives such as the GRE; eliminate the testing requirements.

The Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will consider the proposals at a meeting in November. For now, educators are moving forward with their own plans.

GRE Gains Ground

Six law schools have already announced they will accept the GRE, including Harvard, Georgetown and Northwestern. All others require the LSAT.

Marc Miller, dean of James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona, said the ABA recommendations are "significantly different." His law school broke tradition by becoming the first to accept the GRE in 2016.

"I happen to like the direction it's headed in," he told the ABA Journal.

It is not likely any ABA-accredited law school will drop admissions testing altogether. But law schools and testing services are feeling the pressure from changes in legal education.

Vital Tests

Jeff Thomas, executive director of Kaplan Test Prep, said law schools are considering testing alternatives because of the "historic" decline in admissions in recent years. His company provides LSAT and GRE prep services.

"The LSAT was custom-built for law school admissions," he said, adding that "lots of good data" shows the test can predict a student's likelihood for success in the first year of law school.

On the other hand, he said, there is no data to determine whether GRE tests will do the same.

Kellye Testy, president of the Law School Admission Council, said the LSAT is "vital for the health of our profession." Her organization administers the test.

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