Chicago — Various law schools are experimenting with small-scale admission programs that don’t rely on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) in hopes of broadening their applicant pools.
Some of the schools include Georgetown University Law Center and Washburn University School of Law, which won American Bar Association approval to admit students without considering the LSAT. The accrediting body also granted 14 other law schools permission to admit students through the JD-Next program, an eight-week series of online legal courses that culminates in an exam. The programs come in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision banning race-conscious admission, which prompted law school to think of other ways to bring in diverse classes, according to Reuters.
Georgetown plans to admit 10 students into its part-time program without any standardized test scores, said Andy Cornblatt, dean of admissions. His office will focus on life and work experience to make admissions decisions since most part-time applicants are non-traditional students.
“Were we missing out on people who otherwise would be very interested in law school, but for whom taking the LSAT felt like climbing Mount Everest?” said Cornblatt.
Washburn’s program is geared toward undergraduate students with a minimum GPA of 3.3 or 3.5. They must still take the LSAT but the scores won’t be considered in the admissions process. That should allow students to do their best on the exam, said Jeffrey Jackson, interim law dean.
Altogether, 47 schools of the 197 ABA-accredited law schools in the United States have been cleared to use JD-Next in admissions this year.
Noah Johnson (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow him on X: @noahwritestoo.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett