Black America Speaks Out on American Bar Association Dropping LSAT Exam Requirement

Black America Speaks Out on American Bar Association Dropping LSAT Exam Requirement


Student taking a test (Pexels, Andy Barbour)

The American Bar Association panel has voted to drop the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, standardized test requirement.

The LSAT tests analytical reasoning, logic, and reading comprehension, and has been a predictor of success in law school. It is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for prospective law school candidates. The test has been, until now, an integral part of the law school admission process in the United States and a growing number of other countries.

The test had existed in some form since 1948, when it was created; the current form of the exam has been used since 1991.

While the test was issued years before segregation became illegal in 1954, th4 test became a tool, say critics, to block Black students from getting into law school Standardized tests like the LSATs have been proved by study after study to be culturally biased, and then the costs associated with studying for the LSAT was prohibitive. The test itself has a registration cost of $215, but candidates spend thousands of dollars to prepare by taking courses and getting private tutoring.

The historic Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 led to the end of state-sponsored segregation.

Affirmative action programs “were taking root at American law schools, other demographic trends were transforming the structure of opportunity to attend law schools,” reported the the Race, Racism and the Law website edited by Vernellia Randall, professor emerita at the University of Dayton School of Law. And more and more schools began requiring the LSATs, resulting in few minorities and women getting in.

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Now, the American Bar Association has voted to drop the LSAT requirement for law school applicants, although each law school can set its own requirements.

The ABA’s House of Delegates still must vote to codify the dropped requirement, but the body vetoed a similar rule change in 2018, George Washington University Hatchet newspaper reported.

Black America, for the most part, seemed to celebrate the demise of the LSATs.

Many called out the discriminatory element of the LSATs.

“There’s a reason why this profession is 80% white. LSAT prep courses are $1,000. The test costs $200. The bar exam is around $1,000, and Bar prep courses can cost up to $4,000. It’s recommended that students don’t work while they study for either exam. Who does this hurt/help?” asked mel in a tweet.

“The LAST just like the GRE, GMAT, etc are just a waste of money and obstacles for students. They don’t determine if you will succeed in your degree or not. Just $ grab for corporations,” Jeanette Boston tweeted.

Others noted the bias built into standardized tests.

“I’ve been studying for the lsat with private tutors, books, classes etc and my score hasn’t really budged. Standardized tests are the worst for those that don’t test well even if they try,” tweeted a leo through and through.

Yet others called out Back people using the cost as an issue.

“Let’s stop the excuses. If it’s important to you, you find the 1,000. Why we have to always use this trope of the poor Black people to make our point. You know plenty of Black people who are in college and can have the 1,000, but May choose to spend it elsewhere,” noted Farid X.

Many on Twitter pointed out the history of the LSAT and the use of the test as an obstacle for women and Black law school applicants.

“Love to see it. The LSAT was put in place once black people started pursing legal careers. Nearly half of black law school applicants are not admitted to a single law school. Black Lawyers make up less than 5% of the legal population,” Paric C. tweeted.

Student taking a test (Pexels, Andy Barbour)