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Dropping the LSAT Requirement: Is This a New Trend?

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on March 22, 2016 12:13 PM

A lot of changes are happening on the law school/bar exam front. California's Supreme Court finally gave its blessing to the state's recent proposal to lop a day off its legendary three-day exam. Oklahoma's Supreme Court okayed, "dumbing down" its state bar exam. The UBE is being adopted by more jurisdictions at a notable rate. And now, at least one school has dropped the requirement that its applicants had taken the LSAT.

Is this the latest change to the legal education landscape that will change how we look at law schools forever?

The LSAT

Up until very recently, the LSAT and law school were inexorably intertwined in the minds of students and professionals. The LSAT was to law school what the MCAT was to med school.

For many students, a competitive score on the LSAT is a right of passage that must be earned before one can move forward into the halls of the law school gallery. So what are some students to think when they are presented with the notion that some of their fellow classmates didn't take the test? Isn't taking the LSAT a necessary condition to getting into law school?

Yes ... and No

The fact is that not all law schools require each student to take the LSAT before admitting her to its incoming class. In fact, the governing council of the ABA section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved several controversial changes to law school dogma that officially greenlit some law schools to permit up to 10 percent of their entering class to be made up of students who did not take the LSAT. At the same time, there was a tightening of standards in the auditing of schools' reporting of employment numbers.

University of Arizona Rogers College of Law

The University of Arizona's Rogers College of Law just recently announced that it would no longer require any of its applicants to take the LSAT, accepting GRE scores in lieu of LSAT scores. Thus far, it is the only law school in the nation that has adopted this "LSAT optional for all" policy.

A New Tradition?

The LSAT is deeply entrenched in the culture of law schools, particularly name brand schools. Although it is probably likely that a few more schools will adopt the Rogers College of Law way and take another graduate test results instead, it's not realistic to assume that top schools in the nation will follow.

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