Some Alabama law schools have no plans to change their LSAT requirements for admission after the American Bar Association (ABA) announced it would make the test optional starting in fall 2025.
An ABA law education council last week passed a proposal removing the current requirement for law school applicants to take a “valid and reliable test” like the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) for admission to ABA-accredited law schools beginning in the fall to be taken by 2025. The ABA accredits 199 law schools across the country.
Blake Hudson, dean and professor of law at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, told 1819 News in an interview that he and other law school deans were concerned about the “unintended consequences” of the change.
Hudson said a law school admissions policy that doesn’t require the LSAT probably wouldn’t increase diversity, as some advocates of the change suggest, and would actually decrease it.
“LSAT has been verified as the best predictor of success in law school,” said Hudson. “It’s better than GPA. What you achieve at the LSAT will determine your likelihood of passing law school and doing well in law school. If you consider that success in law school is a predictor of how well you’ll do at the bar, there’s a kind of chain of predictors. minority students who do not necessarily have good GPAs due to other issues related to undergraduate grading; Despite this, they often do better on their LSAT score than their GPA would suggest. Going just for the GPA will hurt minority students who might otherwise get into law school with a good LSAT score.
Hudson also said that removing the LSAT requirement could result in admissions decisions being based on more “subjective” factors and ultimately giving applicants less information about where to apply, as students are currently comparing their scores to the medians whom they are thinking about applying.
“I don’t think we expected a change for the reasons I gave,” Hudson said. “Think of it this way: once schools start withdrawing, there is a lot of pressure on other schools to withdraw. There’s data showing that if you make testing optional, you’ll get more applicants. I hate to be rude or cynical, but law schools work like a corporation and if everyone else gets more applicants because they choose test optional, it’s going to put a lot, lot of pressure on every school to say, “test optional.” to become ” too. Otherwise they will lose applicants and not have enough money to operate. Our intention is to stick with the tests, but I’m just here to tell you as a pragmatist that it will be difficult if all begin to withdraw from the LSAT.
Charles Campbell, dean and associate professor of law at Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law, said he didn’t expect the Jones School of Law to change its admissions policies if the ABA dropped testing requirements.
“The amendment approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) Legal Education and Bar Licensing Section must be approved by the ABA House of Delegates before it becomes effective,” Campbell told 1819 News. “So the change will come into effect in February 2023 at the earliest. If approved, the change will not be implemented by the ABA until fall 2025. Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law currently requires either an LSAT or a GRE score for consideration in the admissions process. At this time, we do not intend to change our admissions policy in response to the ABA Council decision.”
A spokesman for the University of Alabama Law School did not respond to a request for comment.
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