For some I have been arguing that the days of the “LSAT Monopoly” are coming to an end. Over the last decade there has been discussion about whether the LSAT should be required at all AND/OR whether the GRE should be used as a substitute for the LSAT. I have discussed this in numerous posts which include:
The above tweet references an article at TaxProf blog reporting that Harvard Law School (you would be surprised how many famous people are Harvard Law School Graduates) is the latest and possibly most important law school to allow applicants to submit the GRE rather than the LSAT.
The above tweet references an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on March 31, 2016.
The overall theme of the article is that because grades are no longer a reliable indicator of student abilities, then standardized tests are the only thing that schools really have.
An excerpt from the article includes:
It might seem unfair that admissions officers place almost as much weight on a one-morning test as they do on grades from four years of high school, as a 2011 survey from the National Association for College Admissions Counseling showed. But there’s a simple reason for this emphasis on testing: Policy makers and educators have effectively eliminated all the other ways of quantifying student performance.
Classroom grades have become meaningless. Last year a public-school district in northern California decided to score on an “equal interval scale”—meaning every letter grade is assigned a 20-point range. Students who score above 80% get an A. Only those below 20% will be given an F. This is only part of a larger trend.
A comment to the article included:
I have never recruited for an academic institution, but I have done a great deal for businesses. When recruiting for entry level technical or management career path positions, SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT and other competitive standardized tests are great indicators of a candidate’s general mental “horsepower” and ability to learn relative to other candidates. Grades by subject matter areas give an idea of where a candidate’s interests and proclivities are. The presence of difficult subject matter courses, even with mediocre grades, gives a sense for work ethic. Extracurricular activities give an idea of a candidate’s psychological balance and social engagement. Absent a work history, these indicators, supplemented with personal interview results, work pretty well to predict success when matched up with job requirements. Businesses look at SATs and the rest because the information they convey is very predictive of performance.
This debate has been going on since the beginning of the standardized testing industry.
Why should the American Bar Association control entry into the legal profession?
There is no reason at all. The presumption of three years of law school is an American tradition. Although Canada now requires three years of law school, this was NOT always so. Prior to the mid 1950s, in Canada people become lawyers NOT by attending law school, but by a process of “Articling”. “Articling” is a “law office apprenticeship” and IS STILL required (in addition to law school) as part of the process of becoming a lawyer in Canada.
By the way, Foreign law school graduates who want to become a lawyer in Canada should read here!
All the U.S. law school market may be recovering, U.S.law enrollments are still below what they once were. For law schools: students mean revenue and revenue is needed to prosper.
The law school at SUNY Buffalo is offering a “Two year J.D.” for graduates of law schools outside the United States. This program may be of interest to SOME “foreign law graduates” who are navigating the “NCA Route” and seeking bar admission in Canada.
The article referenced in the above tweet covers a lot of ground and is interesting. As you know, the number of applications to law schools in the United States has fallen over the last few years. Obviously, it’s easier to “get in to” to U.S. law schools than it was. (This is not true in Canada which has such a small number of law schools.)
In any case, you will find this article to be an interesting read.
At least two studies, including one this year that examined admissions exam scores from 2000 to 2011, have concluded that scores on the test, administered by the Law School Admission Council, closely track later bar passage rates.
Mr. McEntee of Law School Transparency, a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, said his group’s recent study showed that many schools were admitting students whose lack of legal aptitude made them vulnerable to failing the bar. And, at the same time, they are incurring six-figure student debt that will weigh them down in the future.
The steady erosion in admissions scores between 2010 and 2014, Mr. McEntee, said in his study, is “directly linked to the falling bar exam passage rates in many states.”