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LSAC Continues Research on Digital LSAT Delivery Options

On May 20, 2017, a select group of volunteers took advantage of a unique opportunity to preview a tablet-based LSAT at roughly 20 testing centers throughout the US, including one in Puerto Rico. The pilot test is part of our ongoing research into future LSAT delivery options. There was no charge to take the pilot test, and participants received a $100 gift card. A total of 1,000 seats were available for the Digital LSAT Pilot Test, and nearly that number of test takers registered for the pilot test, but the final participant count was not yet available for this newsletter.

The pilot test included actual LSAT questions, but did not result in an LSAT score. Like the LSAT, the Digital LSAT consists of five sections of multiple-choice questions. The pilot test was given under conditions similar to those of an actual LSAT administration, with the timing of the sections identical to the paper-and-pencil test (35 minutes for each section).

Many registrants were attracted to the pilot test as extra preparation for taking the actual LSAT. They received a detailed performance report listing the number of questions answered correctly for each of the three LSAT question types (Analytical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension) and the number answered correctly for each of several skill areas within each LSAT question type.

LSAC has been researching computerized delivery systems for the LSAT for two decades, and began exploring the tablet-based model in 2012. No decisions regarding implementation of the Digital LSAT will be made until all aspects of the delivery system have been tested and the performance of the test on the system can be verified. Pending the results of the pilot test, a larger field test may take place in October 2017.

LSAC Partners with Khan Academy to Offer Free LSAT Prep for All

LSAC announced in February that an agreement had been reached with California-based Khan Academy on a partnership that will make personalized, free LSAT practice widely available to all.

Traditionally, students have paid test prep providers anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars for various LSAT test prep packages. The LSAC-Khan platform will include practice LSATs as well as a rich array of video tutorials, explanations, and learning tools. The platform will be hosted at KhanAcademy.org and is expected to launch in the second half of 2018.

Interim LSAC president Athornia Steele said that LSAC is “committed to providing students an opportunity to learn the skills they need most to do well on the LSAT and succeed in law school. We’re excited to provide a resource that focuses on deeper learning for everyone.”

Important Policy Revision on LSAT Limitations

Starting with the September 2017 LSAT, there will no longer be any limitations on the number of times a test taker can take the LSAT in a two-year period. LSAC has revised this policy as part of its planning for additional administrations of the LSAT.

CRS Change Management

LSAC has received numerous requests from member law schools for changes to the Candidate Referral Service (CRS). In response, the Services and Programs Committee created a work group to review the requests and, in conjunction with LSAC’s Information Services Division (ISD), develop the appropriate mechanism for addressing change requests for new LLM areas of interest and JD coursework choices. A guiding principle of the group was the importance of maintaining a manageable list of courses and interest areas that reflects the needs of member schools generally and not individual school preferences. The Services and Programs Committee agreed with the work group’s recommendations, as did the Board of Trustees, and ISD will be moving forward with the changes.

Currently, there are 23 LLM areas of interest and 20 JD coursework choices. The work group recommended using similar names for similar fields across both groups in the interest of consistency. The work group defined broader categories for areas of interest and coursework that could incorporate more types of law (including future developments) and make it possible for member law schools to use CRS to target candidates with their specific programs.

Schools that want to request a new category are asked to submit the request to Law School Support Services and provide justification, including the reason the new category is an important area of law to be added to CRS and why the current categories are insufficient. In addition, if the requestor knows of other schools that could benefit from the new category, that information should be included in the request.

The revised list of CRS categories will be made available in the very near future.

Order LSAC Posters and Brochures at LSAC.org

LSAC Posters and Brochures

Member law schools and prelaw advisors can now order LSAT posters and the Welcome to a Simple Law School Admission Process brochures directly from LSAC.org. After logging in, law schools should find the Publications on the menu at left and click on “Poster and Brochure Order Form.” Prelaw advisors should look for the form on the Prelaw Advisor Information Center home page after logging in. Schools and prelaw advisors need only select the item they wish to order, specify the quantity, and submit the completed form—and the order will then be processed. There are also links on the page to allow users to view the poster and brochure before the order is completed .

US Fee Waivers to Be Centralized

LSAC established its fee waiver program in 1968 to ensure that no one is denied access to law school because of the inability to pay for the LSAT and other essential applicant services. The LSAC process for granting fee waivers has been revised and streamlined over time. Today, a US law school candidate can easily apply for a fee waiver online.

For the past 10 years, LSAC has granted an average of $2.5 million each year in fee waivers. LSAC fee waivers are unique among testing organizations because fees are waived for all essential services, not just the test.

Currently, law schools can grant LSAC fee waivers to any candidate who requests one—without regard to a candidate’s need or LSAC’s guidelines. Because there is no limit on the number of waivers a school can grant, and there is no requirement to have or follow any specific criteria for determining eligibility, the potential for unequal treatment exists. Therefore, in order to promote fairness, access, and consistency for all candidates, the US fee waiver process going forward will be entirely online through LSAC.org. This change will be effective July 1, 2017.

2017 Forum Schedule

City Date Hotel
Washington, DC Saturday, July 22, 2017 Omni Shoreham Hotel
Toronto, ON Monday, September 18, 2017 Hyatt Regency Toronto
Miami, FL Saturday, October 7, 2017 Hyatt Regency Miami
Chicago, IL Tuesday, October 10, 2017 Palmer House Hilton
Atlanta, GA Friday, October 13, 2017 Westin Peachtree Plaza
New York, NY Friday, October 20–Saturday, October 21, 2017 New York Hilton Midtown
Houston, TX Saturday, October 28, 2017 Omni Houston Hotel
San Francisco, CA Thursday, November 2, 2017 Marriott Marquis San Francisco
Los Angeles, CA Saturday, November 4, 2017 The Westin Bonaventure Hotel
Boston, MA Friday, November 10, 2017 Renaissance Boston Waterfront

Board Approves Forums Work Group Recommendations

The Forums Work Group reviewed the 2016 forums season and prepared a report for the Services and Programs Committee. The work group concluded that the increased attendance at eight out of ten JD forums was a result of improved marketing and the collaborative efforts of member schools, prelaw advisors, LSAC, and an external marketing firm.

As part of its review, the work group shared its recommendations with member schools and provided opportunities for member feedback. The work group reviewed all of the feedback and incorporated relevant submissions into its report. After approval of the recommendations by the Services and Programs Committee, in May 2017 the LSAC Board of Trustees approved the recommended revisions to LSAC’s forums, which include:

LSAC’s Member Support Services team will provide additional information about changes affecting the upcoming forum season as soon as possible.

Registration Open for LSAC Summer Workshops

The 2017 Summer Workshop program was designed for midlevel law school admission professionals who aspire to move into a law school leadership role. A work group of experienced admission professionals have designed the program to include sessions on Understanding Yourself, Understanding the Law School Admission Leadership Role, and Developing Core Competencies. The workshops will be held in three locations in July; registration opened in May and closes on July 11. Registration information is at LSAC.org; after logging in, go to Events/Recruitment.

Location Date Time
American University
Washington College of Law
Washington, DC
July 21, 2017 9:00 am–3:00 pm
Loyola University Chicago
School of Law
Chicago, IL
July 24, 2017 9:00 am–3:00 pm
Loyola Law School
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA
July 26, 2017 9:00 am–3:00 pm

Statement of Good Admission and Financial Aid Practices Revised

In May 2017, LSAC’s Board of Trustees approved the Services and Programs Committee’s revised Statement of Good Admission and Financial Aid Practices (Statement). The Statement Work Group recommended that the current JD Statement be revised into one document that encompasses both JD and LLM programs. This decision grew out of a previous discussion about the overwhelming similarities between the two Statements.

Within the new, comprehensive Statement, sections where there were differences between JD and LLM programs were identified and addressed. The work group received feedback from both the JD and the LLM admission communities and incorporated relevant submissions into the revisions.

Copies of the revised Statement will be posted on LSAC.org at the Data & More tab under Publications as soon as the revisions have been made.

Diversity Initiatives Grants Approved

LSAC will bestow grants on two established organizations that are dedicated to increasing the number of lawyers from underrepresented minority groups in the legal profession. These grants, to be distributed over the next five years, were recommended by the Diversity Committee and approved by the Board of Trustees. Both organizations will celebrate 50 years of programs toward those stated goals.

CLEO
Outgoing LSAC Board Chair Susan Krinsky and CLEO Board Chair Angela Birch Cox sign a document in early May to memorialize their commitment to work together to promote diversity in law.

The Prelaw Summer Institute (PLSI) of the American Indian Law Center targets and prepares Native American students for legal careers. Its alumni include Native American lawyers in a variety of fields, including the judiciary, tribal law, government, legal education, public interest, and major law firms. LSAC began funding the PLSI program when the Bureau of Indian Affairs reduced its support for the program.

The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), founded in 1968, has created programs that include a summer intensive residential program. Other workshops and services have produced judges, lawyers, law professors, and other legal professionals. LSAC has supported CLEO since its inception.

The Diversity Committee also supported the activities of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Subcommittee’s programs during the 2017 LGBT Bar Lavender Law Conference, and continued to review and support DiscoverLaw.org branded activities, including the Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Program (PLUS).

ACES² News

Meeting Colleagues in India

In early April, LSAC Interim President Athornia Steele and Senior Director of Test Development Lily Knezevich traveled to India as ambassadors for the LSAT—India. They spent time in both Delhi and Mumbai, meeting with representatives from law schools that use the LSAT—India and others interested in the law school admission process. They also met with the Pearson Vue team that administers the test.

The annual LSAT—India administration will take place on May 21 of this year. This will be the ninth administration of the test.

India Admin 2017
PHOTO: From left to right: Aman Soni, business development manager (Pearson VUE), Neetu Dhadwal, project manager (Pearson VUE), P.C. Suraj, marketing manager (Pearson VUE), Lily Knezevich, senior director of test development (LSAC), Athornia Steele, interim president (LSAC), and Divyalok Chetan Sharma, senior director—client development (Pearson VUE).