The American Bar Association (ABA) on Monday turned down a request to eliminate the LSAT standardized test requirement for law schools.
Resolution 300 would have allowed law schools to admit students without LSAT scores starting in 2025, making the schools “test optional.”
“The Council is disappointed in the House of Delegates’ vote on Resolution 300. It will consider next steps at the Council meeting on Feb. 17, consistent with ABA rules and procedures,” managing director of ABA Accreditation and Legal Education Bill Adams said in a statement.
Proponents for the resolution argued the LSAT disadvantages black and Latino applicants, and that making law schools “test optional” would have a positive impact on campus diversity, Reuters reported. Black students typically score an average of 142 on the LSAT, while white and Asian students typically score 153, according to NPR. The average score for Latinos is 146.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 7, 2023
Opponents argued eliminating the LSAT from law school application requirements would not do much to bolster campus diversity. They said moving away from standardized tests would cause law schools to focus on more subjective criteria, such as essay quality, research and undergraduate prestige, Reuters reported.
The proposal reportedly sharply divided members of the legal community.
A group of 60 law school deans nationwide signed a letter in September 2022 opposing the proposed changes to the LSAT requirements.
“Without the LSAT as a factor, law schools may be less willing to take a chance on students who do not perform well on GPA or other metrics because they worked to put themselves through school, had to care for family, or other reasons, but would enhance the diversity of our institutions and ultimately the profession,” the letter read.