An ABA committee tentatively agreed on 2 alternative approaches to the current standard, which requires all law school applicants to take the LSAT, according to ABAJournal.com.
The first alternative would pare down the test, which is required under the Standards and and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools. While the second alternative would eliminate the LSAT requirement altogether.
Neither of the tentative agreements are binding , but they do reflect that members of the committee believe that the LSAT is not a necessary component for evaluating a prospective law student.
The current standard that schools are held to, known as the LSAT requirement, states that a law school must require each first-year applicant to take a valid and reliable admissions test to assist the school and the applicant in assessing the applicant’s capability of successfully completing the school’s education program.
The committee did not vote to to change the current testing requirement because they felt the test itself was flawed, as it has been a reasonably reliable indicator of a first-year student’s law school performance.
Instead, committee members sought to overhaul the current requirement because it does not require schools to give any particular weight to a student’s test score as a part of its admissions process.
Opponents of the current standard note that no other accrediting agency requires schools to make students take an admissions test and that the ABA has selectively applied the requirement as it has allowed certain schools to admit students who did not even take the test.
"It ought to be up to the schools to decide who they want to admit, and based on what factors," says committee member and dean of Loyola University Chicago School of Law David Yellen.
Proponents of the requirement believe that it is a necessary component in assessing a potential law-school candidate because undergraduate G.P.A.'s are an insufficient indicator of a student's future success at their respective schools.
"I think this is absolutely fundamental to the quality of a legal education in America," says committee member James Hanks Jr., a partner with the Venable firm in Baltimore.
The testing requirement has been the subject of debate within the ABA for some time.
As a result, last Friday the committee decided to discuss it once again.
There, the committee first decided to approve the pared down version of the current requirement but then voted to forward to the section's governing council an alternative proposal that would dispose of the LSAT requirement altogether.
Notwithstanding the potential rule change, schools will still be free to require prospective students to take the LSAT as an admissions requirement.
Assuming that the committee eventually does way with the requirement, it will be interesting to assess the impact that it will have on current admissions procedures nationally.
On a lighter note, eliminating the LSAT requirement could save incoming law students a lot of extra stress that they could bank come BAR time.
What do you think?
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