OFF THE RECORD - Seton Hall Law

Should I Take the LSAT or GRE for Law School?

Posted by Gisele Joachim on 10/30/18 8:26 AM


As I looked back upon the advice I gave about a year ago on this topic – it struck me that despite some activity on the “LSAT or GRE Issue”, that not really much has changed – and, therefore my advisement is not much different today than it was then. This is why law schools care about your LSAT score.

The only test currently deemed “valid & reliable” by the ABA is the LSAT

As expected, the ABA was slated to consider changes to “Standard 503” at the August 2018 meeting.  The changes under consideration at that time would have removed the language requiring a “valid and reliable” entrance exam.  Unexpectedly, however, before the changes could be brought up for a vote, a significant group of the ABA membership voiced concerns over the proposed changes.  Given the voiced concerns, ABA leadership decided to forgo any vote and tabled the proposed amendments.  So – at this time, literally, nothing has changed with regards to the law schools’ accrediting body requirement for a “valid & reliable” entrance exam. 

Not taking the LSAT may limit your application options

However, if you watch this sort of thing (as I do) – you will note that there have been changes.  In fact more law schools (since my initial discussion of this topic) have announced that they will accept the GRE (in lieu of the LSAT) for admissions purposes.  As of the writing of this blog 27 schools (up from 8) have made this announcement.  It would seem that the possibility of applying to “all GRE” schools is greater now than it was a year ago.  So, if you research law schools you are interested in and see that they all accept the GRE – it may be reasonable for you to just take the GRE.  My advice, however, remains to think very carefully before making a decision to not take the LSAT. 

There are still too many unknowns

As outlined above, nothing has changed with regards to the ABA’s stance on this topic despite more schools announcing they will accept the GRE in lieu of the LSAT.  So, although it seems unlikely that students who are admitted to a school on the basis of their GRE score (without an LSAT score) would have any unknown consequences to face – it is just difficult to know where things go from here.  If the ABA sticks with the current rule and interpretation, might there be some upstream concerns expressed by law firms and other employers about a lack of LSAT score?  Might there be difficulty transferring to another law school without an LSAT score (if you wanted/needed to transfer for some reason)? 

As for Seton Hall Law School, we require the LSAT because our data confirms it is a “valid & reliable” law school entrance exam. For years we've used the LSAT to assist in our admissions decisions. Combining that with analysis of our graduates' outcomes (law school grades and bar passage) we are comfortable continuing to require the LSAT as part of the law school application

But - should you go down the road of “GRE only” – I strongly encourage you to do your homework.  How will your GRE score (or lack of LSAT score) affect your eligibility for scholarship funding? How is the GRE used in the admissions process (i.e., which parts of the exam are evaluated and what are typical medians for the law school)? This is still uncharted territory for law schools – so ask a lot of questions and be sure you are satisfied with the answers before you limit yourself to “GRE or Bust”. 

 Photo by Pablo García Saldaña on Unsplash

Topics: Advice and Tips, Admissions

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