The Legal Beat
More Law Schools Join The GRE Party
Posted on Thursday September 12, 2019
Oh, boy — it looks like dropping the LSAT in favor of the GRE is a real option for students now. Though prospective law students might be concerned that foregoing the traditional law school entrance exam might limit their choices, with more and more law schools on board with the GRE, the (legal) world is practically their oyster.
Two more law schools can be added to the list of GRE accepters. University of California, Irvine School of Law added the exam to their admissions process as did the University of Alabama School of Law. UCI Dean Song Richardson touted the move as a way to increase the diversity of the law school:
“We are committed to expanding the pathway to law school for talented students from a variety of diverse backgrounds with a wide array of career goals. Adding the GRE to our admissions process furthers our innovative approach to legal education.”
The list of law schools that are expanding their horizons beyond the LSAT is now quite long. Harvard, Yale, Columbia, St. John’s, Brooklyn, Northwestern, Arizona, Georgetown, Hawaii, Washington University in St. Louis, Wake Forest, Cardozo School of Law, Texas A&M, BYU, John Marshall Law School, Florida State, Pace, UCLA, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Penn, USC, Cornell, Buffalo, NYU, Florida International University College of Law, SMU Dedman, and Penn State Law at University Park. (University of Chicago and University of Georgia both allow candidates in dual degree programs to skip the LSAT, while Berkeley Law lets students in concurrent or combined degree programs and specialized practice fields submit their GRE score.) And we are likely to only see this trend continue. According to a survey by Kaplan Test Prep, a full 25 percent of law schools have plans to accept the GRE. Another Kaplan study determined 49 percent of students surveyed support the move to the GRE.
Meanwhile, Yale Law School, which tweeted out their move to accept the GRE earlier this summer, has made additional statements about the new practice, letting students know submitting the GRE in lieu of the LSAT will not be looked at negatively by the school.
“We want the broadest possible range of applicants to apply to Yale Law School,” said Miriam Ingber, the associate dean for admissions at YLS. “Accepting the GRE will provide our applicants with increased flexibility as they consider their educational options.”
Despite the difference in test format, YLS admissions office “will have no preference for either the LSAT or the GRE,” so students should not worry that taking the GRE will put them at a disadvantage, YLS spokesperson Janet Conroy said.
Even though more and more law schools are on board with the GRE, the body responsible for law school accreditation, the American Bar Association, hasn’t officially weighed in on using anything other than the LSAT in admissions. ABA accreditation Standard 503 currently mandates that law schools require admissions testing and that the test used be “valid and reliable.” (In August, the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar officially withdrew a resolution before the ABA House of Delegates that called for the removal of Standard 503.) Whether the GRE meets that standard, the ABA hasn’t officially said. But with this much momentum, stopping the GRE ball from rolling will be a monumental task.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).