January 14, 2011 -- The American Bar Association, the biggest voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students in the world, is now reviewing the possibility of making the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) an optional requirement rather than mandatory for law school admissions. The National Law Journal reported that the ABA committee is currently looking at the feasibility of the option.
Donald Polden, dean of Santa Clara University School of Law, said that ABA will most likely adopt the new proposition. “The committee reviewing the standards is leaning toward dropping the rule that law schools require J.D. applicants to take a ‘valid and reliable admission test.”
David Yellen, a member of the review committee and dean of University Chicago School of Law, explained that one of the principles behind the elimination of LSAT, which ABA committee is highly considering, is to give law schools more independence on their own admission policies. “Is taking a standardized test the only way to determine if someone should be able to go to law school? Schools ought to be able to decide how they want to admit students.” Yellen added that regardless of ABA’s recommendation, he believes that most law schools would still support the administration of LSAT as a requirement in admissions. “I believe that most schools would continue to require the LSAT, in part because it is the most reliable way to measure applicants against each other and make merit-based financial aid decisions.”
The members of the US legal community have varying reactions and predictions over the latest industry news. Some said that those established law schools will continue to require LSAT while some may adopt the new option, especially those newly opened law schools which are in need of students. As of today, ABA committee is still reviewing the new proposal.