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January 13, 2011 6:02 PM

The Careerist: The Last Days of the LSAT?

Posted by Vivia Chen

I'm no fan of standardized testing, but I'm not cheering the possible elimination of the LSAT either. According to The National Law Journal, the ABA is considering making the LSAT voluntary rather than mandatory for admission to law schools, under its accreditation standards.

"The committee reviewing the standards is leaning toward dropping the rule that law schools require J.D. applicants to take a 'valid and reliable admission test,'" chairman Donald Polden, dean of Santa Clara University School of Law, told the NLJ. 

One reason the ABA committee is thinking of dumping the LSAT requirement is to give schools more autonomy over their own admissions. "Is taking a standardized test the only way to determine if someone should be able to go to law school? Schools ought to be able to decide how they want to admit students," Loyola University Chicago School of Law dean David Yellen, a member of the review committee, told the NLJ.

Another factor, noted Yellen, is that the Law School Admission Council, which administers the LSAT, is "a wealthy institution. . . . So many people take the LSAT. Why is the ABA ensuring its future success?"

Members of the the fraternity of law schools worrying about unjust enrichment in the legal education field? Really?

I never thought I'd be defending the LSAT, but here I go. First of all, given the plight of jobless law school graduates saddled with hundred of thousands of dollars in debt, why are we encouraging the enactment of measures that could potentially lead to more jobless lawyers?

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This is probably part of a plan to reduce the influence of US News. LSAT scores are the most important factor in the rankings and if they're taken out of the picture it will be easier to dismiss the rankings as reflecting only resources and not academic worth. GPA medians won't work as a substitute since any school that wants a high GPA median can get one. The applicant pool if saturated with inflated GPAs.

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