Bloomberg Law
Feb. 6, 2023, 11:26 PMUpdated: Feb. 7, 2023, 12:53 AM

LSAT-Optional Law School Admissions Hit Snag With ABA Vote (1)

Joyce E. Cutler
Joyce E. Cutler
Staff Correspondent

Would-be lawyers must still take a mandatory entrance exam, with the American Bar Association rejecting a proposal Monday that would allow schools to choose whether to require the Law School Admission Test or similar test.

The proposal failed before the ABA House of Delegates at its midyear meeting in New Orleans. A similar resolution in 2018 was pulled before delegates were scheduled to vote on it. More than 80 U.S. law schools in recent years have allowed prospective students to take the more general Graduate Record Examination instead of the LSAT.

“If the rules change had been adopted, we think many, if not most, applicants would have continued to submit a LSAT or GRE score, even if they were not required to by a particular law school,” Amit Schlesinger, Kaplan’s executive director of legal programs, said in an emailed statement. “A strong score sets you apart from the competition. It remains and would remain the great differentiator.”

The option was touted as an opportunity to increase diversity in law students and the bar, although 50 law school deans in a letter to the ABA said eliminating it would “increase reliance on grade point average and other criteria that are potentially more infused with bias.” An ABA panel in November voted to move away from a requirement that law schools use the LSAT or another standardized test for admissions.

The ABA is the only professional school accreditor that mandates use of an admission test.

The rejection sends the proposal back to the ABA’s accreditation council, which will consider next steps.

(Added quote from Amit Schlesinger, Kaplan's executive director of legal programs, in the third paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at

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