On May 20, 2022, the Council of the American Bar Association’s Section on Legal Education and Admissions accepted the recommendation of its Strategic Review Committee to allow comments on the Committee’s proposal to eliminate the requirement that law schools use a valid and reliable admissions test.
A 2018 recommendation to the same effect was withdrawn from consideration by the ABA House of Delegates due to significant opposition. As Derek Muller notes, “The LSAT is a good predictor of bar exam success (and of course, law school grades, which are a great predictor of bar exam success), so absent significant bar exam changes, there will remain problems if schools drop standardized testing in favor of metrics less likely to predict success.”
In November 2021, the ABA permitted law schools to use the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Prior to that, the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) was the de facto choice to meet the requirement that a “valid and reliable test” be used.
In a Memorandum dated April 25, 2022, the Strategic Review Committee proposed the following changes to Standard 503, titled “Admissions Test”:
As amended, Standard 503 would read, “A law school may use admissions tests as part of sound admission practices and policies. The law school shall identify in its admissions policies any tests it accepts.”
The amended text deletes a requirement that “each applicant for admission as a first-year J.D. degree student . . . take a valid and reliable admissions test to assist the school and the applicant in assessing the applicant’s capability of satisfactorily completing the school’s program of legal education.”
The comment period runs for 90 days; if the start date is May 20, 2022, the 90-day period would run on or about August 17, 2022. The House of Delegates can then consider the proposal, as further amended or not, at its Midyear meeting in February 2023.
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