ABA Shuts Down LSAT -- Almost, Not Really

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 10, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Some conventions die hard, like law school admission exams.

The American Bar Association was considering whether to kill off the requirement, but then pulled the proposal off the table. A group of young lawyers said maybe it's not such a good idea.

After all, they said, admissions tests will let prospective students know if they have a chance at becoming a lawyer. May as well destroy their dreams early, right?

Admissions Tests

All ABA-accredited law schools require the Law School Admissions Test; that's not changing for now. Many also accept the Graduate Records Exam, and a few will take the Graduate Management Admission Test; those alternate tests are trending.

With a ground swell of law schools choosing LSAT alternatives, the ABA started circulating a proposal to cut the admissions test requirement under Standard 503. Currently, it requires law schools using admissions tests other than the LSAT to demonstrate that they are reliable in predicting student success.

But the Young Lawyers Division Assembly voted against the proposal. The Minority Network, a group of law school admissions professionals, also said the LSAT was the most reliable test for law school admissions.

"Departure from the use of a common test abandons decades of statistical analysis and test evolution and leaves a vacuum that schools will have to fill without guidance or a measurable standard," the group said.

LSAT Forever?

Of course, not everybody agrees. For example, Harvard, Georgetown, and Columbia are among nearly two dozen law schools that have already opened the door to GRE test-takers.

There are at least two reasons for that: law schools need to throw a wider net to attract students; and science and math students are typically better than law students on admissions tests.

The ABA is not ready to throw out the LSAT baby with the admissions test bathwater, but it's unlikely that it can reverse the trend of law schools that accept the GRE and GMAT. For now, the ABA is just testing the waters.

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