More Law Schools Begin Accepting GRE Test Results

“We believe this change will make the admissions process more accessible to students who have great potential to make a mark here at Georgetown Law and in successful legal careers but who might find the LSAT to be a barrier for whatever reason,” said William M. Treanor, the school’s dean.

The changes come as the nation’s lawyers are gathering this week in New York for the annual meeting of the American Bar Association. While the issue of admissions tests is not on the formal agenda, there is likely to be debate in the corridors about whether law schools should be able to use whatever “valid and reliable admission test” they choose — in lieu of the LSAT, which has been administered since 1948.

Arizona was the first law school to defy the decades-old wisdom that the LSAT was the only reliable numerical predictor for how students would fare.

The Law School Admission Council, the nonprofit law school membership organization that is the LSAT’s administrator, reacted harshly at first but later backed away as dozens of deans supported Arizona’s action.

Arizona, Harvard, Georgetown and Northwestern each conducted individual studies that compared their students’ academic results with their entrance test scores. Georgetown said that it found “GRE scores were at least as strong a predictor of academic success at Georgetown Law as LSAT scores.”

Northwestern’s law school dean, Daniel B. Rodriguez, said its study found that the exam was “a strong predictor of first-year performance at Northwestern.” Northwestern’s study was conducted with the Educational Testing Service, the administrator of the GRE, which is used for most graduate school programs.

Georgetown Law will begin accepting GRE scores in addition to LSAT scores for applicants to its 2018 entering class. Northwestern will accept GRE scores starting with applicants to its 2019 class.

As law school enrollment has fallen in recent years, differing views about relying on LSAT scores…

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