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April 1, 2012

Harvard Law School Drops LSAT For GMAT

After years of debate over the LSAT's relevance to the practice of law, Harvard Law School has finally dropped the LSAT as an admissions requirement and replaced it with the requirement that applicants take the GMAT. The decision came after a new study revealed that students scoring in the 75th percentile on the exam were no less likely to rise to prominent positions in the legal field than those scoring in the 99th percentile.

Harvard Law's Assistant Dean of Admissions, Pilar Folso, stated:

These results confirm what we've all known for a long time. The LSAT, the Analytical Reasoning [ed. Logic Games] section in particular, simply doesn't test skills that are useful for the everyday practice of law. Lawyers don't place variables in order or group them into categories, so why should we consider the results of a test that measures the ability of future lawyers to perform these inane tasks? 
In contrast, the GMAT has demonstrably served as a far better indicator of test-takers' skills relevant to the practice of business, and we believe these skills are equally relevant to the practice of law.

Ms. Folso indicated that applicants will be permitted to submit either LSAT or GMAT scores throughout the 2013-14 admission cycle. However, applicants in subsequent years will be required to submit GMAT scores to be considered for admission.

The move has come as a surprise to many, given that the GMAT contains a math section (Quantitative Reasoning). However, it's not as extreme as it may appear at first glance.

The GMAT's Critical Reasoning section features questions that are extremely similar to those in the LSAT's Logical Reasoning section. Additionally, the GMAT's recently-added Integrated Reasoning section measures test-takers' ability to interpret both mathematical and scientific data. These skills are becoming increasingly important as patent law has been the fastest-growing legal subfield for the past 10 years.

Intellectual property cases involving the massive amounts of computing data generated by Internet usage, and those involving advances in medicine and biotechnology, require lawyers to wade through documents involving information with which they have not traditionally been familiar. Measuring such skills will allow Harvard to determine the extent to which its applicants possess the ability to interpret such data.

I'll be following this story closely to see whether other law schools follow suit. If Yale and Stanford make the switch, too, we may see the vast majority of ABA-ranked law schools quickly make similar changes for the 2014-15 admission cycle. At the time I published this blog post, Robert Morse (the man behind the U.S. News rankings), hadn't yet made any comment on how the move would affect Harvard's ranking in future years.




23 comments:

  1. �� Omg I fell for it and started asking my biz school friends how hard the GMAT was .. lol good one!

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  2. Replies
    1. That's what you get when you rearrange the letters in the Assistant Dean's name.

      Coincidence?

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  3. holy shit! dam you got me gooooooooooooood until I read the comments!

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  4. What people should do is take the GMAT and then go to business school. Whatever it takes to stay OUT of law school.

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  5. HAHA i fell for it too! Happy April's fool day!

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  6. To paraphrase what a former co-worker once told me, "A certain teacher has too much time on his hands!" Happy April 1st. But do you know that the modern electronic GMAT responds to your correct answer by making its next question even harder? You may score better, but the process could drive you insane! Just imagine what that would do for LG. Please, keep the LSAT a paper-and-pencil test.

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  7. Best April Fools joke I've seen all day.

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  8. Rat Bastard... lol

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  9. glad you stopped making up stories about LSAT changes for April fools. wise choice for someone who runs such a blog.

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  10. totally fell for this... my husband and i were just sitting here freaking out... haha

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  11. Oh my gosh I not only fell for this but excitingly forwarded it to my friends & crossed my fingers that other law schools would follow the trend so I could avoid the LSATs. Back to the books...

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  12. Wow I actually fell for this! Was about to email it to my LSAT teacher. That would have been embarrassing .....

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  13. I don't think this is the place to joke about stuff like that....seriously....

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  14. I dunno Anon, I'd say falling for this is a pretty reliable indicator on how you'll do on LR, haha

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  15. This is definitely the best April fool's joke I've seen. HAHAHA!!!

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  16. OMG think good i spotted the date that this article was posted. lmfao nice job!

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  17. this article gave me a heart attack so i guess it achieved its intended effect. clever clever...

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  18. Holy s*** this freaked me out haha. There is no WAY I would take two difference entrance exams.

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