Late last week news was released that the ABA was considering eliminating its rule that ABA-accredited schools must require their applicants to take the LSAT. Of course, the web exploded with speculation that it was just a matter of time until the test was history. I’m here to tell you that the LSAT will be with us for a long time, and also to make the case that applicants shouldn’t want it any other way.
Why the LSAT isn’t going away
- The LSAT is still accurate. As much as admissions directors might want to downplay the test’s importance, studies still show it is incredibly effective at predicting first year law school grades.
- The LSAT is still useful. As much as admissions personnel want to take character and work achievements into account when making decisions, there’s just no way other than the LSAT to standardize candidates from across universities.
- Competitive schools will likely still require the LSAT. Schools that get thousands of more applicants than they have spots will continue to use a way to easily sort students and judge their relative aptitude. While the LSAT may not be required by the ABA, it would be pretty shocking if it stopped being required by Harvard Law School
- Competitive applicants will always still want to take the test. Think about it this way — given two identical applicants to law schools (no, you are not a unique snowflake to admissions directors), which one will get the nod: the 170-scorer, or the applicant with no test score on file? Serious applicants to competitive schools will find it in their best interest to take the test (and to do well).
Why students shouldn’t want the LSAT to go away
As much as we all complain about the LSAT, it presents an additional barrier to entry for law applicants. Given the current massive oversupply of new lawyers, the last thing applicants should want is for it to be even easier to apply to law school. With more applicants will come even more law schools to serve them, further exacerbating the problem.
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