Taking the LSAT Just for Fun

By , January 31, 2011 10:29 am

by Kristine Lloyd

For those, like me, who suffer from testophobia, your fears may soon be quelled if you are applying for law school. It seems the venerable old ABA is considering making the Law School Admissions Test voluntary. With law school rankings so closely tied to test scores, it’s hard to believe any dean would be willing to loosen her tight grip on the ranking rung achieved with those scores. After all, the mother of all rankings, the U.S. News & World Report’s, places considerable weight on the LSAT scores of incoming first-years.

A 2009 sociology study highlighted the law school obsession with scores. Many schools invest more money in merit-based scholarships to attract students with high LSATs and drive up their rankings, often at the expense of need-based scholarships.

In addition to skewing rankings, detractors of the test say that it also undermines diversity. Two law school professors studied shutout rates of minorities and concluded that these rates were closely correlated with LSAT scores.

If after 40 years of mandatory test-taking, the ABA decides to make the test voluntary, it will be interesting to see if law schools change their admissions processes. With such a well-oiled system in place, who would want to reinvent the wheel, even if given the option?

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