American Bar Association’s Policy-Making Body Rejects Proposal to Make LSAT Optional
“The LSAT, or the Law School Admission Test, tests analytical reasoning, logic and reading comprehension.”
We have been following this development. It’s very interesting.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Legal Association Deals Setback to LSAT-Optional Law School Admissions
The American Bar Association’s policy-making body on Monday rejected a proposal to make the LSAT and other standardized tests optional for law school admissions, casting a cloud over a change that has prompted debate about diversity in the legal profession.
The test-optional policy appeared to clear a major hurdle in November when an ABA panel that accredits law schools approved it. It was on track to go into effect for students applying for admission to law schools in 2026. But the ABA’s House of Delegates voted down the policy Monday and sent it back to the accrediting body for further consideration.
Despite the back and forth, it is the accrediting council, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, that gets the final say. It could approve the policy again and ultimately implement it, even if the House of Delegates rejects it a second time.
The council’s main objective was to give law schools flexibility in the decision-making process, said Joseph West, chair of the ABA’s accrediting panel and partner at Duane Morris LLP.
The proposal would make law schools in line with other professional schools that don’t require tests for admission and eliminate a potentially cost-prohibitive requirement that has an impact from a racial and socioeconomic standpoint for prospective students, Mr. West said.
The council will discuss its next steps later this month. Under the proposal, law schools still have the option to require LSAT scores if they wish.
Despite Monday’s vote, Mr. West expressed optimism in the proposal. “Engaging with so many people on both sides of the issue is a good thing,” he said.
The LSAT, or the Law School Admission Test, tests analytical reasoning, logic and reading comprehension. The ABA in 2021 also allowed law schools to consider the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, as an alternative to the LSAT.
Advocates for eliminating the test say that students of color perform less well on the LSAT and argue that law schools should have the choice to decide what criteria are best for building a student body. Going test-optional would lead to greater diversity in applicants, they say.
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Mr. West is the Chief DIE Officer at Duane Morris LLP. Not sure how the WSJ missed that.