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December 18, 2014


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Yes, yes, and yes.

What is so discouraging is that rules already exist that would likely cut off the spigot of federal loans to students with little chance to succeed in passing the bar and obtaining JD required employment; but, the rules aren't enforced for political reasons.

It is the hypocrisy of the privileged elite that operate law schools (and benefit from employment in them) that has created this environment. This should rankle even the most tolerant of observers.

Faculty whine, "But, what can WE do?" The world has seldom seen such "brilliance." Those at fault bemoan the fact that they can't understand how they caused the problem. and then expect others to accept their complaint as an excuse, and not as proof of something very, very troubling.

Mark P. Yablon

You recommend turning down applicants solely on the basis of their LSAT scores. You support an absolute minimum LSAT cut-off of 145 to be admitted to a low ranked law school. What would be your cut-off at high ranked schools?

You realize LSAC historically has warned law schools not to follow your suggestions because they are statistically invalid, or at least inconclusive. According to LSAC, the LSAT was designed to predict the likelihood of doing well as a 1L--but not whether one will graduate and pass the bar. Based on LSAC data, applicants over age 39 have a median score of 144. So you unknowingly (or possibly knowingly) support turning down most applicants over age 39. You probably are aware non-traditional students typically do better academically than traditional students who have a median LSAT score 11 points higher than their older cohorts.

David Frakt

Mark P. Yablon -

If you review my comments above, I am not suggesting an absolute minimum cut-off of 145 (although it certainly wouldn't be unreasonable for a school to impose such a policy). A couple of comments ago, I said "I also have no problem with law schools admitting a small number of 146 and 145s, maybe even 144s and 143s, if they have a strong undergraduate record or some other history of personal success, through an admission by performance type of program." I was not aware that older candidates had a lower median LSAT, but a non-traditional candidate with a 144 who had a strong work history in a job requiring some use of logical reasoning skills would, in my view, be a good candidate for an admission by performance program. Since the non-traditional candidate would likely have been out of school for a long time, an admission by performance program would be a good opportunity to assess their current aptitude for law school. 143 is at the 20th percentile on the LSAT. It would be hard for me to envision accepting any student at 142 (18th percentile) or below. A student scoring at that level could either retake the LSAT and try to get a higher score, or go to an unaccredited law school. My prescription for FCSL to not admit students at 144 or below might have allowed an exception for a select group of 142-143 students with strong grades who completed a rigorous admission by performance program. The goal was to reverse the current policy which is to admit virtually anyone at 140 or above and quite a few students even below that, which, in my view, is a recipe for disaster with respect to bar results, destroys the schools reputation, and is unfairly taking advantage of students without proven aptitude for the study of law.

As for higher ranked schools, they should just try to get the best students they can get, since a school's reputation is largely based on selectivity in admissions. My only real area for concern with higher-ranking schools is how low they are willing to go in pursuit of diversity. While I firmly support affirmative action programs, and therefore would make some allowance for lower LSAT scores for underrepresented minority students, I think it is important not to admit students who are so far below the class median that they will have difficulty keeping up with their peers. I believe that affirmative action concerns are what is driving ABA policy with regard to not having any specific cut off scores, since African-American and Hispanic students have a lower median LSAT score as a group. But since there is no evidence that these minority groups outperform their scores, I would not adjust my recommended minimum cut-offs.


John Kunich: Nobody would begrudge Infilaw their place in the sun if they wanted to open up an unaccredited law school in California. Of course, such a school would not be profitable, for the simple fact that nobody in their right mind would pay the kind of tuition necessary to maintain the people who run the school in the lifestyles to which they are accustomed. But you're not seriously suggesting that the federal government should provide access to federal student loans to literally anybody who wants to open a law school on the off chance that a single one of those students might someday pass the bar? You're not in favor of getting rid of the bar exam on the off chance that someone who fails the bar exam might still be a lawyer?

confused by your post

Almost any effective methods or requirements that might be put in place to reduce the number of unqualified students who enroll in law schools will run up against arguments that such methods/requirements disproportionately affect people of color.

This is a problem that I have not heard a solution for.

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