The University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law has gotten into a minor war with the Law School Admission Council, Inc. (LSAC) over the issue of who gets to determine the standards for admission to law schools. The law school recently announced that it would allow law school aspirants to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in lieu of the Law School Admission Test, a test law schools began using in 1948.
The law school’s aim is to open up the admissions process to a larger group of applicants. The University of Hawaii School of Law and Wake Forest University School of Law are also considering changes in how students may apply for admission. Law schools across the country have seen their enrollments shrink in recent years. Creating a larger pool of applicants is one possible answer to getting more people into law schools.
The Arizona law school’s announcement that it would use the GRE upset the LSAC, which sent a letter warning that LSAC might expel the Arizona school from its network. However, a number of law schools stood behind Arizona. On May 4, some 150 law school deans, including those from Harvard and Yale, sent a letter to the LSAC saying that “experimentation benefits all of us” and that punishing Arizona would send a terrible message. The LSAC has walked back from its threat to expel Arizona from its network. The LSAC posted a letter on its website to the effect that LSAC’s “recent inquiry about Arizona Law's admission policies was misunderstood and characterized as a threat to the school.”
How the situation will end is still an unanswered question. But it seems likely that other law schools will explore new approaches to getting students to fill the empty chairs in law school classrooms.
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