3. If the requirement of a “valid and reliable admission test” is discontinued, will the law schools continue to require a “valid and reliable admission test” in their own admissions process?
The answer will be determined over time. Even without an ABA mandated LSAT requirement, I believe the law schools will continue to use it or another admission test. What will not be a requirement for the law schools will still be a requirement for law school applicants.
My reasons include the following:
– the cost to the law school to evaluate the applicant is high. The LSAT score is an objective measure (although what the LSAT measures is unclear) and it requires no effort to interpret. In addition, the use of the LSAT places part of the cost of processing the law school application on the applicant. Therefore, it makes economic sense for the schools to continue using the LSAT.
– The LSAT is an objective test. Everybody has to take that test. It doesn’t matter what school he or she attends. It doesn’t matter what undergraduate major a student offers. The LSAT is the great equalizer – the one thing that all applicants have in common.
– schools are obsessed with law school rankings in general and of course their own ranking in particular. Commentators are already considering how not requiring the LSAT would affect the ranking of a law school. One professor has blogged that an LSAT free admissions policy can hurt the U.S. news ranking. Apparently law school admissions data (which includes the LSAT) contributes to about 25% of the U.S. news ranking. At the present time, schools that do NOT use the LSAT are not ABA approved and are often considered “second rate”. Why would a school want to join the club of schools that are perceived as being “second rate”? I suspect that they will adopt this reasoning, even though on the actual LSAT the statement:
“If a school is second rate it does not use the LSAT”
is NOT equivalent to:
“If a school does not use the LSAT then it is second rate”.
The Harvard Business School (HBS) discontinued its GMAT requirement for a period of approximately ten years. During this time period the rankings of HBS fell. When Harvard reinstated the GMAT requirement, its rankings improved. That said, it is possible that this observation (to use another LSAT question type), is to confuse correlation and causation.
Do the law school rankings actually mean anything? On this point see:
– recent interesting commentary by Malcolm Gladwell (of Blink and The Tipping Point fame): and
– interesting commentary on the Gladwell article by Kyle Pasewark (of Advise In Solutions fame).
– Law Schools may want to retain the LSAT to assist with financial aid applications.
In conclusion, I see no reason why law schools would discontinue the use of the LSAT or another “valid and reliable admission test”. I do see a number of reasons to continue the use of “a valid and reliable admission test” which brings us to the next issue which is: