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Planned LSAT Rule Changes Leave Door Open for Schools to Choose  

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) accreditation arm voted to eliminate the standardized testing requirement for law school admissions and the likelihood that it will formally take effect in the near future has increased dramatically. There are still a few hurdles to jump before any changes are officially enacted, though.

ABA3On Friday, Nov. 18, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar voted 15-1 to allow “each of the 196 ABA-approved law schools to determine for themselves whether to require a test score among other factors in the admissions process.” This differs from the current standard, which requires nearly all applicants to provide some score—both the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Graduate Record Examinations are considered valid—under Standard 503, according to the announcement from the ABA.

The change, which has drawn mixed reactions from the legal community, will take place in the 2026-2027 school year, assuming it is formally adopted by the council. According to an ABA timeline of the proposal, public comment of the matter began on Wednesday, June 1. Approximately 120 comments were collected, “ranging from support from prospective law students to opposition from GRE and the LSAT organizations.”

From Twitter 

Michele Tafoya @Michele_Tafoya ·Nov 21

"To get into business school, I had to take the GMAT. Like the LSAT, the test is one measurement of a person’s preparedness for graduate school. Can anyone pass these tests? No. That’s why they exist: to determine who is ready — and who isn’t — for the rigors of grad school."

Additionally, comments pertaining to how the change might impact under-represented individuals seeking law school admission “differed widely,” according to the announcement. “It’s very rare that I encounter a situation where the proponents on exact opposite sides of an issue are citing the same issue to support their arguments,” said Joseph West, chair of the council.

Ahead of any finalized change, the ABA House of Delegates will be afforded a chance to review the proposal and make recommendations (if so inclined), but the final decision will rest with council, notes the ABA. The House of Delegates is expected to take up the matter at its upcoming Monday, Feb. 6, meeting in New Orleans.

From Twitter

Dr. Carson, Esq. (they/them) @OctaviaViento ·Nov 23

"I saw absolutely no connection between the LSAT and law school or the bar exam. I got a 144 on the LSAT, which is a very low score, but I was number 1 in my law school class and I passed the California bar exam on my first try. The ABA should ban the LSAT completely."

In March, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which administers the LSAT, announced a new “holistic pathway” initiative to support undergraduate students hoping to become lawyers. As such, the Legal Education Program aims to “provide a second, equally valid and reliable alternative for law school admission in the future that will complement the proven LSAT exam,” according to the testing service.

“LSAC has a long history of promoting equity in legal education with evidence-based products and services that ease the enrollment journey and advance student academic success,” said Kellye Testy, LSAC president and CEO. “LSAC’s Legal Education Program’s focus on helping students develop and demonstrate mastery of the skills necessary for success in law school–as part of their regular undergraduate academic coursework–will have a profoundly positive impact on students, schools, and the legal profession as a whole.”

According to information from the LSAC, the LSAT is the “single best predictor of law school success” and its validity is “consistent across all demographic groups.”

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