Law Schools

LSAT Would Be Optional Under Possible ABA Accreditation Change

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Updated: Would-be law students may not have to go through the ordeal of the Law School Admission Test if a proposal by an ABA committee is adopted.

Currently, accreditation rules require law schools to ask applicants for results of a “valid and reliable admission test,” the National Law Journal reports. But that may change, says Santa Clara University law school dean Donald Polden, the chairman of an ABA committee reviewing the standards.

A “substantial portion” of the ABA committee believes the rule should be repealed, Polden told the NLJ. He and officials from the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar pointed out that a small number of law schools already have been granted waivers by the ABA to admit some high-performing students from their own undergraduate institutions who haven’t taken the test.

Even if the rule is dropped, Polden believes that most law schools will still require the LSAT as a way to differentiate among applicants and to make financial-aid decisions.

The review of the standards is being done at a committee level at this point. Once its review is complete, the committee is expected to make a recommendation to the full Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which would make any final decision on a rule change. The council would next explore such a rule change sometime in 2012, says Bucky Askew, the consultant to the section.

Last updated at 2:45 p.m. Thursday to make clear that waivers are only granted for schools admitting some students from their own institutions and to add details about the Council process.

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