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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

ABA Proposes to Drop LSAT Requirement for Law School Applicants

The dreaded LSAT scantron.
From time-to-time this law blog has addressed the effects that the down economy has had on the legal profession. In doing so, we’ve alerted our readers to the collateral effects now becoming manifest for recent graduates of the nation’s 250+ law schools. We’ve often asked the question: do we really need more lawyers?

The latest development in this rough chapter of the profession is the current proposal of the American Bar Association to drop the requirement that students entering law school take the LSAT.

Doesn’t this sound like a good thing? Many critics have long-asserted that the only thing this test measures is one’s aptitude for taking a standardized test. Well, not so fast.

The consensus among the industry professionals is that all the top-tier law schools will continue requiring that applicants sit for the exam. It should be noted that as many as 10 law schools already have been granted waivers to admit students without LSAT scores.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the chairman of the ABA’s committee on the entrance exam has told the National Law Journal that a significant faction within the committee has concluded that the rule that law school applicants, “submit to a valid and reliable admission test” should be repealed. The committee’s concern, in part, relates to the ABA’s proper role in the law school admission process and its indirect endorsement of the Law School Admission Counsel; the well-funded organization that administers the LSAT.

The proposal to drop the LSAT requirement will be the subject of public debate at the ABA committee’s next meeting on April 2 in Chicago.

Last weekend, we posted on the problems associated with the glut of lawyers, taking our lead from a front-page story in the NYT Business Section that has since received much exposure. The ABA proposal has attracted more unwanted attention to the professional formation of attorneys.

One of the knocks against lawyer-making is that the process is designed to enrich the law school and impoverish the law student. Students willingly submit to the impoverishment process in exchange for a coveted professional credential: the Juris Doctor.

Local connection: No law school exemplifies this process more than our own Cooley Law School, receiving yet more spectacular negative publicity on this subject in the tongue-in-cheeky blog Above the Law whose recent post on this subject asks, “does the ABA really want every lower-ranked law school to turn into Thomas Cooley?”

While acknowledging that most of the top-schools will continue using the admission test, ATL suggests that Cooley will drop the LSAT like a bad habit, opening the door even further for those, er, less-qualified legal aspirants that can afford to pay heavy-duty tuition bills for their shot at the American Dream; lawyer style.

While our service-economy is flexible and somewhat forgiving, your law school student loan obligation is not. Where the rubber meets the road on this problem is that attorney positions have become occasional in a crowded profession.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jacklewis said...

The oldest PrepTests can have their place in LSAT practice, and the LR sections certainly have the greatest growth potential for most preppers. Glad you found the post helpful!

http://www.prep101.com/lsat/

January 27, 2011 at 2:39 AM 
Blogger Timothy P. Flynn said...

Jack: Not sure what "post" you are referring to. We're glad that you found this post helpful. The point of our post, however, brings into question the usefulness of the LSAT as a predicter of professional skill as a lawyer. The legal profession is beginning to critically examine the entire LSAT prep-course cottage industry and ask whether it should be dismantled entirely.

January 27, 2011 at 4:51 AM 

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