OFF THE RECORD - Seton Hall Law

Do I Need to Take the LSAT to Get Into Law School?

Posted by Isabel DiSciullo on 9/15/20 1:53 PM

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This seems to be an age-old question! In order to answer it, I will try to help you determine what has and hasn’t changed with regards to law school admissions and standardized testing requirements without taking you too far into the weeds of law school accreditation.  There has been quite a bit of discussion and media reports of law schools seeking alternatives to the use of the LSAT.  What is happening?

First, this topic does require some brief background information.  The accrediting body for US Law Schools is the American Bar Association (ABA) and the arm of the ABA specifically tasked with accrediting and ensuring compliance with accreditation standards is the “Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.”  As an authorized educational accrediting body, the ABA is required to provide standards for the institutions it accredits and ensure institutions adhere to those standards.  Standards apply to many areas across all law schools – academic standards, curricular standards, etc.

The specific standard at issue here is “Standard 503” which mandates that accredited law schools require applicants to “submit a valid and reliable law school admission test score as part of their application”.  The long-standing interpretation of this standard has been that the LSAT is “valid and reliable”.  Standard 503 goes on to indicate that if the law school can demonstrate that test(s) other than the LSAT are “valid and reliable”, those test(s) can also/alternatively be utilized in the admissions process.

So, while the primary law school admissions test continues to be the LSAT, the ABA has amended their standards to allow law schools to accept other forms of standardized exams. As of today (9/1/2020), about 60 law schools now accept the GRE in addition to or in lieu of the LSAT. Seton Hall Law is one of those schools.

So, to get back to the point at hand - Should you or shouldn’t you take the LSAT?

The answer, is – “it depends.” All law schools will still ask you to submit a standardized exam, but that could now mean the GRE as well as the LSAT. But, as I mentioned above, there are only about 60 of the 200 ABA-accredited law schools that accept the GRE. So, there is a high likelihood that you will have a school on your list that only accepts the LSAT. 

One final thought for you to consider…the way that the standards are currently written - once you take the LSAT, it must be considered, even at schools that allow for the use of the GRE in their admissions process.  So – regardless of which exam you chose to sit for, I strongly recommend that you take them seriously and prepare as best as you can before taking them.  The score matters – even in cases where it appears that it may not. 

But, much like all of the world today, this issue continues to be a conversation among admissions professionals, practitioners and students – so, my advice today may not be the same advice I give you tomorrow!  And…it may certainly differ from those of my peers…

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Topics: Advice and Tips, Admissions


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