Law Schools

ABA Legal Education Section, LSAC to Certify Admissions Data About Entering Law Classes

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The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and the Law School Admission Council are collaborating on a plan to begin certifying the accuracy of law school entering-class academic credentials.

To make the program possible, the section will begin requiring law schools to report on their annual questionnaire the names, birth dates and LSAC account numbers for all students in their entering classes.

The section, which accredits law schools, and LSAC, which administers the Law School Admissions Test, will use those reports to correlate and cross-check the information with their records to verify its accuracy. Schools will then be able to request certified copies of their students’ entering class credentials, which they will be free to publicize as they see fit.

Section chair John O’Brien said many schools had expressed an interest in such a program in the wake of recent revelations that two law schools had been publishing false admissions data about their incoming classes. Villanova University School of Law, was censured for its actions. No action has yet been taken against the University of Illinois.

“In an environment where the actions of a few schools have raised questions in the minds of some about the integrity of data reporting by law schools more generally,” O’Brien said Friday in a prepared statement, “this program gives schools a straightforward and efficient method to have their admissions data verified and to assure that they are accurately reporting admissions data to the ABA and to the public.”

The section has also taken steps to toughen the sanctions available against schools that intentionally misreport placement data, including possible monetary fines and loss of accreditation.

LSAC chair Steven L. Willborn said the program provides a valuable service to its members. “Having a process that enhances the integrity of entering-student data is a positive step toward creating greater consumer confidence in the admissions process, and it is a natural fit to do this in conjunction with the ABA.”

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