The panel of the American Bar Association that accredits United States law schools voted to remove the required use of the LSAT or other standardized tests for admission.
Lawyers, administrators, and professors compose the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which voted 15-1 to eliminate the testing mandate, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Penn Carey Law spokesperson Meredith Rovine said that while their admissions practices would remain "unchanged for the upcoming year," since the ABA change would not go into effect until 2025, they may consider removing the requirement in the future. Law schools, even if the decision goes through, would still be still free to mandate tests on their own.
"In future years we will consider all options as well as any new legal constraints on our admissions discretion, and employ the admissions criteria best suited to achieve our institutional goals of excellence and inclusivity," she said.
In a survey conducted by Kaplan, Inc. of 82 law school admission departments, 30 said they would be “very likely” to keep testing requirements in place, even if such a change were to occur, according to the WSJ.
The change now moves to the ABA’s policy-making branch with the opportunity to reject it in February, but the original council will have the final decision. If passed, the change would not come into effect until fall 2025, according to Reuters.
This change comes after almost 60 law school deans, including University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Dean Ted Ruger, expressed concerns over such a change on Sept. 1. They warned that the change may work against the ABA’s goal of diversifying the legal profession.
“We fear that an unintended consequence … will be to diminish the diversity of law schools’ incoming classes, by increasing reliance on grade point average and other criteria that are potentially more infused with bias,” the comment wrote.
Representatives from the Law School Admission Council, which administers the LSAT, said that the rule change may result in unprepared students, Reuters reported. However, the ABA council countered that claim, noting that existing guidelines already discourage schools from widely admitting significantly unqualified students.