More law schools now accept GRE scores, citing diversity and accessibility as reasons for doing so.
Your Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score is a critical component of your law school application. Almost all law schools require the LSAT as part of their admissions process. However, more law schools are now accepting the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, a standardized test required by most graduate schools.
The University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law was the first law school to accept GRE scores after a 2015 study indicated that “for students in Arizona Law’s JD program, performance on the GRE General Test is a valid and reliable predictor of students’ first-term law school grades, and so meets the American Bar Association’s Legal Education Standard for use in admissions to law school programs.”
Other law schools have since followed suit, including Brooklyn Law School and Harvard Law School for their fall 2018 admissions, and Georgetown Law. There are currently 14 law schools accepting the GRE, according to Educational Testing Service’s website. These schools will continue to accept LSAT scores and prospective students can choose to submit a GRE score, an LSAT score or both. The American Bar Association is on board with this move, reported Inside Higher Ed, approving a recommendation that allows law schools to use their discretion in accepting GRE or LSAT scores.
Compared to the LSAT, the GRE has a more frequent testing schedule and can be taken in different locations around the world. However, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) noted that the LSAT is specifically targeted to law school applicants and is designed to measure skills that are crucial to law school success, including the ability to draw reasonable inferences from information, analysis and evaluation of reasoning and critical thinking. On the other hand, the GRE is a more generalized test measuring analytical writing, quantitative skills and verbal skills. The LSAC has provided a chart highlighting the differences between the GRE and the LSAT, as well as an FAQ page on their website for students inquiring about how to handle these scores during the application process.
Law schools now accepting the GRE have cited diversity and accessibility as reasons for doing so. Brooklyn Law School aims to attract students with backgrounds in engineering, medicine, science and technology who wish to pursue a law degree. University of Arizona’s College of Law is taking a similar position, saying that “by using the GRE test, we are able to consider qualified applicants from more diverse backgrounds.” Meanwhile, Georgetown Law wants to make the application process more accessible to potential students who might consider the LSAT a barrier to entering law school. Harvard Law School added that in accepting the GRE, they hope to alleviate the financial burden on applicants who would have to pay to take the LSAT.
Accepting GRE scores is a welcome move for law schools, especially in the ever-changing legal field. As Brooklyn Law School President and Dean Nicholas Allard said in a statement about the school’s acceptance of GRE scores, “As we prepare the next generation of lawyers for a rapidly changing marketplace, the way in which we attract and comprehensively evaluate our prospective law students must change as well. The GRE will give us another objective measure that is widely used in graduate education by which we can assess an applicant’s potential to succeed in both law school and professionally.”