Could the Law School Admission Test – the LSAT – Become a Thing of the Past?

Law School admission in the US has long involved the LSAT, but it could become a thing of the past following announced plans made by the US Law School Admission Council this week? The answer is ‘No’, but there are certainly major changes afoot.

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The legal education program due to start this fall in the US is to be closely looked at in association with the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar with a possible view towards using undergraduate courses in lieu of entrance exams.

The new program that’s planned isn’t intended to replace the current law school admission test as the main entranceway to law school, said Council vice president of product development and business intelligence Kaitlynn Griffith. That is hardly surprising perhaps given that most of the Council’s annual revenue comes from fees associated with the LSAT and law school applications.

The LSAT already faces some stiff competition from the Graduate Record Examination, which nearly 80 law schools now accept as their main admission to law school.

“LSAC’s Legal Education Program’s focus on helping students develop and demonstrate mastery of the skills necessary for success in law school—as part of their regular undergraduate academic coursework—will have a profoundly positive impact on students, schools and the legal profession as a whole,” Kellye Testy, the president and CEO of the LSAC said in a press release on March 16.

The LSAC’s Legal Education Program is a powerful group that has an advisory committee that includes such members as Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of University of California at Berkeley School of Law, president of the Association of American Law Schools, Joseph West, a partner and the chief diversity officer at Duane Morris and Danielle Holley-Walker, dean of the Howard University School of Law.

The goal is to broaden the pipeline and pathways to law school, Griffith said.

“One of our founding principles on this was to look at diversity, equity and inclusion and say, ‘How can we be opening more doors into the legal profession?’” Griffith said.

In the news release, the LSAC claimed that the LSAT is the “single best predictor” of law school success across all demographic groups. According to Griffith, the LSAT and the undergraduate program will complement each other, and it’s possible that some students will do both.

“We understand that the LSAT is a great pathway for many individuals, but we also understand this might be an alternative pathway to develop skills and support systems,” she said.

Law school admission pathways may change – but for now the LSAT seems very much part of the pathway now and for the foreseeable future.

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