Friday, May 6, 2022
ABA Committee recommends dropping the requirement of standardized testing (e.g., the LSAT) for law school admission
Here. While the ABA has some power, the real power rests with USNews.com: if they still want LSAT scores, law schools will still use them. If USNews.com drops the LSAT scores, then the race to get the highest median GPA, regardless of the difficulty of the undergraduate course of study, will accelerate, since that will be the only numerical measure left for student admissions. That would be a disaster. Comments are open for thoughts from readers on this development and what it portends; submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.
Although it's not explicitly said in the ABA documents above, changes like this are often presented as ways to increase diversity, but of course a very predictable result is that people who graduate from elite or at least "name brand" undergraduate universities or colleges will have a large advantage in admissions, no matter what their GPA or course distribution. At the very least, that will harm economic/class diversity, and likely other forms as well, and will tend to perpetuate disadvantage, by making it harder for people who didn't already have a leg up at the end of high school to improve. It seems like a real mistake to me, on these grounds alone, and perhaps others, too.
Posted by: Matt | May 7, 2022 2:42:58 PM
There is an alternative, which is that law schools could involve faculty in a very intensive review of all aspects of each student’s record—sort of like you would do for a faculty candidate—and without need for a mechanical formula. Of course this isn’t going to happen except perhaps to a very limited degree at Yale, etc. So for the most part, you are correct.
BL COMMENT: It's not going to happen as long as USNews.com uses median GPAs to rank law schools.
Posted by: Mike Livingston | May 8, 2022 10:58:59 AM
Thanks, Brian. I think it's not just the USNWR, but also how state bars react. Until those things change, I agree it probably will not change very much. I blogged about that here: https://excessofdemocracy.com/blog/2022/5/what-happens-if-the-aba-ends-the-requirement-that-law-schools-have-an-admissions-test-maybe-less-than-you-think
Posted by: Derek Muller | May 6, 2022 11:32:10 AM