The ABA and the Ongoing Debate Over LSAT Tests
The American Bar Association is to reconsider the requirement regarding eliminating the rule requiring the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) for student admission to law school.
Joseph West, the chair of the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, announced that the move this week.
The council had previously voted to drop the rule in November but may not ask the ABA’s House of Delegates to approve the change in August as planned. This decision comes after concerns were raised by law school deans and other stakeholders, prompting the council to evaluate the issue further.
The LSAT rule has been a contentious issue for years, with opponents and supporters debating its impact on law student diversity and consumer protection.
Supporters of the LSAT rule have argued that eliminating the requirement would make admissions offices more reliant on subjective measures such as the prestige of an applicant’s college, potentially disadvantaging minority applicants. On the other hand, those who want to get rid of the test requirement argue that the LSAT is a flawed measure and a barrier for minority students, who tend to score lower on average than white test-takers.
The existing rule allows law schools to use any standardized exam that can predict law school performance, with the LSAT and the GRE being accepted options. However, schools can also admit up to 10% of their class without a standardized test score.
Last month, a group of 125 law deans proposed a compromise to the council that would allow schools to admit up to 25% of new students without a standardized test score, with a review of the change within six years of implementation.
The decision to reconsider the elimination of the LSAT requirement will give the council time to evaluate the concerns raised by stakeholders. Kellye Testy, president of the Law School Admission Council, which makes the LSAT, welcomed the council’s decision to examine other approaches to expanding access to law school beyond eliminating the LSAT rule.