Is Lsat The Answer

For nearly 70 years, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has been the way to enter the realm of legal education. But that might be changing. The test that is designed to gauge students’ ability to “survive” the first year of law school, may be on its way out.

The rule that allows law schools to relax their policy on LSAT was announced in 2014, by the American Bar Association (ABA) – the body that governs most of the law schools in the country. The rule states that up to 10% of the students being admitted in a particular year in the law class can be taken in without having given the LSAT. Interpretation 503-3 of the Standard 503 on Admission Tests, under the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools 2016-2017, states the following in this regard:

  1. It is not a violation of this Standard for a law school to admit no more than 10% of an entering class without requiring the LSAT from:
  1. Students in an undergraduate program of the same institution as the J.D. program; and/or
  2. Students seeking the J.D. degree in combination with a degree in a different discipline.
  1. Applicants admitted under subsection (a) must meet the following conditions:
  1. Scored at or above the 85th percentile on the ACT or SAT for purposes of subsection (a)(1), or for purposes of subsection (a)(2), scored at or above the 85th percentile on the GRE or GMAT; and
  2. Ranked in the top 10% of their undergraduate class through six semesters of academic work, or achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above through six semesters of academic work.

With this rule now in place, an increasing number of law schools are beginning to question the efficacy of LSAT altogether.  

Law Students without LSAT – Better or Worse?

With such a major change being brought about in the admissions process, many have begun to ask questions about its suitability and applicability in legal education. This change might enable law schools to attract more applicants, who otherwise might not consider going into the legal field. However, it will not make law schools any easier. Applicants would now have to prove their abilities via other means, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essays and so on.

The admission process without the LSAT would give a certain amount of authority to individual universities on how they want to admit their students – the way how different universities utilize this authority will determine whether the application of this rule would be for the better or for worse in the long run. 

Which Law School No Longer Require the LSAT?

The biggest question for prospective law students is which law schools do not have the LSAT requirement anymore. They’d be surprised to find some really big names on this list. Have a look:

Law Schools that don’t require the LSAT

Harvard Law School

University of Arizona College of Law

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Georgetown Law Center

Massachusetts School of Law

Instead of the LSAT, law schools are moving towards another standardized test – the GRE. Harvard Law School announced its plans to nix the LSAT in favor of the GRE in March 2017. Many started to wonder whether this would result in other major law schools abandoning the LSAT as well. This question was answered soon. On 8th August, 2017, two more schools, Georgetown and Northwestern announced that they too would now accept the GRE for law school admissions.

This begs the question…

Can GRE replace the LSAT?

The LSAT is designed to test the analytical abilities of prospective lawyers. It tests students in the areas of reading comprehension, logical reasoning, writing and analytical reasoning. None of these are specific to legal education or law in particular. On the other hand, the GRE also tests student knowledge in a wide variety of fields such as communication and reasoning – skills which are integral for law school applicants. The GRE also covers the subject of math, which is not tested in the LSAT – which proponents of GRE believe is not fair, arguing that math is important in all professions. GRE would also serve as a way to attract students who want to consider law school, but do not want to go through the whole LSAT test prep process.

In addition to that, the GRE is easier to take in terms of time and place.  


Kellye Y. Testy, the CEO and president of LSAC, the authority in charge of the LSAT has shown concern over law schools jumping on the GRE bandwagon. She said that the current system is put into place to assure quality control and the high worth of law graduates. She advised law schools to move ahead with caution,

“We believe in innovation and experimentation and certainly anything that would open access and improve legal education and the profession. But we are concerned with how quickly schools are jumping to the GRE without any reliable studies of what it means."

She went on to add that the studies that LSAT abandoning law schools have cited are "small," and "we would like them to take a little more time to study what this means.”

Whether the GRE completely replaces the LSAT or modifications are added to the LSAT to make it more current and relevant, the wheels for a potentially greater change have been set into motion. The results of this change will be evident in the next few years as students enter law schools with new admission requirements and attempt to prove their worth through merit.

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