American Bar Association: Drop LSAT Law School Requirement

Some law schools have already moved away from the LSAT in favor of other standardized tests, but the ABA may soon drop testing requirements altogether.
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  • Some law schools may soon have the choice as to whether they want to require standardized tests.
  • Currently, the LSAT is still required at the majority of law schools.
  • Test-optional practices are becoming increasingly commonplace in college admissions.

Students may no longer need to take a standardized test to get into law school in the near future.

The Strategic Review Committee for the American Bar Association (ABA) offered recommendations late last month that would allow schools to decide whether they want to require a standardized test. Currently, all ABA-accredited schools require that applying students take either the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) for admittance.

Under this proposed change, schools may keep their current test requirements, institute their own test, or discard required tests entirely.

Whatever method a school decides to use, ABA said each school must clearly state what is required of prospective students.

Law schools would become the latest segment of higher education to join the test-optional movement. Many traditional colleges and universities have chosen to make general admissions tests like the SAT or ACT optional. Almost 80% of baccalaureate-granting institutions don't require tests.

Some law schools had already begun to stray from the LSAT in recent years.

The University of Arizona College of Law made headlines in early 2016 when it decided to consider applicants who had taken the GRE in lieu of the LSAT. Other schools, including Concord Law School at Purdue University, have already opted to use a proprietary test that is shorter than the LSAT and can be taken online.

"Eliminating the requirement of a 'valid and reliable' admission test also eliminates some of the challenges inherent in determining which tests are in fact valid and reliable for law school admissions," the Strategic Review Committee wrote in its recommendation letter. "Although of course law schools must still show that their use of an admission test, should they choose to require one, is consistent with sound admission practices and procedures."

ABA approved amendments in 2018 that would have eliminated the test requirements. However, it backtracked on those changes after "considerable and organized opposition," according to the letter.

The Strategic Review Committee also noted that as of now, ABA is the only accreditor among law, medical, dental, pharmacy, business, and architecture school accreditors that requires an admission test.