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Your GPA Matters More Than Your LSAT, Right?

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 24, 2019 5:56 AM

It may come as a surprise, but the Law School Admission Test is not the best predictor of success on the bar exam.

People in the know -- like law school educators -- know that. Your law school GPA is a much better indicator of bar pass success.

Still, it is a common misperception that the LSAT is the golden ticket to bar passage. Educators sometimes correct that misunderstanding because people do get confused.

GPA "Much More Predictive"

Robert Anderson, professor at the Pepperdine University School of Law, repeated the lesson recently. This time, he had a new report from the California State Bar.

Anderson said it is "fairly well known" among those who study bar performance that law school GPA is "much more predictive of bar performance" than the LSAT.

He said that if law schools are interested in bar performance, the LSAT is a "very weak" indicator when compared to law school grades. Of course, not everybody knows that.

The Law School Admission Council felt compelled to clear up any misunderstanding after the Law School Transparency weighed in on the issue.

Confusion About LSAT

The LSAC said the LST caused some confusion about the LSAT. The council said the LSAT is a valid measure of certain cognitive skills that are important for success in law school.

However, the council said, law schools should not use the LSAT scores to assess bar passage risk. The council said the LST, in a study, contradicted itself about "high risk" students being admitted to law schools.

"Tables from the study indicate that students labeled 'high risk' (i.e., those with LSAT scores in the 147-149 range) who attended one law school had a first-time pass rate of 57 percent, while comparable students from another school had a pass rate of 23 percent."

To be sure, LST clarified the issue: "The LSAT is the best predictor before law school as to whether a student will pass or fail the bar exam."

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