The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has long been the litmus test by which prospective lawyers are accepted or denied from competitive programs across North America. But critics say the LSAT, which tests analytical prowess, is not very good at predicting performance after law school, and discriminates against blacks and Hispanics. These concerns, as well as legislation in California that bans consideration of race in admissions, was the motivation behind a new test, written by a pair of University of Berkeley professors. With funding from the LSAT, the professors conducted a survey of law school professors, law firm clients, judges and Berkeley law school graduates. The test they came up with includes hypothetical situations intended to offer insight into students’ ability to manage stress, listen, research the law, solve problems and write. Results from 1,100 lawyers, when compared to LSAT marks and university grades, show that the new test was a good indication of raw lawyerly talent, and did not did not discriminate among racial or ethnic groups. It was however, no more effective than than the LSAT in predicting success in law school.
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