But some believe it may be a missed opportunity to make the law school admissions more equitable.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, prospective law students will take the LSAT-Flex, a remotely proctored and shortened version of the Law School Admission Test, during the second half of May.
On their website, the LSAC has promised to stay, “committed to ensuring that every test -taker has the equipment and other resources they need to take the LSAT-Flex.”
In an interview with Dru Levasseur, the Head of Diversity and Inclusion Training of the LGBT Bar Association, Kellye Testy, the President and CEO of LSAC, committed to ensuring that the organization’s “founding values of equity and inclusion” don’t lose their urgency during times of crisis.
Controversy Over the LSAT-Flex
But this commitment is difficult to uphold when fixing the equity gap can’t always be solved with loaner devices or tech solutions—especially when households across America can vary so vastly among racial and socioeconomic groups.
After the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) took to Facebook and Twitter to announce the remote testing, students weren’t shy to voice their concerns. The prevailing sentiment? “Unbelievably annoyed and frustrated.” Some even demanded the LSAT to be waived this year, and that law schools waive the exam requirement. The ACT and SAT tests for high school seniors have completely canceled their April and May test dates, and the MCAT tests for prospective medical school students have been canceled through March, April, and May.
In light of the LSAC still being administered, one student added, “I demand to know how they are going to guarantee fairness.” With plenty of users citing the unfair advantages linked to more privileged test takers with access to stronger WiFi connections, smart technology, and better remote learning environments.
For years, the LSAT and other standardized exams have been criticized for upholding inequities in access to higher education. In recent years, the LSAC has even faced lawsuits over lack of accessibility.
“We really do need [diverse voices] in the legal profession.” Testy implored. If there is any takeaway from this push to remote learning, it’s that we must work hard on solutions to these issues so that “we come out of this [epidemic] with better approaches to the way that we all live together.”
Committing to progress
While the LSAT testing has long been known to favor wealthy test-takers, it is true pipeline programs have also historically been a part of their LSAC programming. These programs are supposed to encourage and fund diverse groups of prospective law students to attend on-campus events and promote a more holistic application experience. Now, Testy says that they are working to build a strong online community so that the pipeline building can continue.
One point most would agree with is that this moment is an opportunity to strengthen this so-called diversity pipeline into law fields.