Every year, thousands of potential law school applicants take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)—a standardized test that measures the applicant’s aptitude for the legal profession. The LSAT is the single most important aspect of the admissions process, and can lead to thousands of dollars in scholarship money, or admittance into the ivory tower of academics, Harvard, Stanford, or Yale. But recently the University of Iowa and SUNY Buffalo has dropped the LSAT requirement.
This is unprecedented in the world of Law School and hopeful lawyers should be skeptical of any Law School that will allow you to attend their institution without an LSAT score. University of Iowa and SUNY Buffalo are most likely having difficulty filling seats, and thus, they are lowering their admissions standards in order to stay in business.
A law degree is far from a ticket to print money. In fact, only about 60% of law school grads end up practicing law. The percentage of these grads who make the big bucks all potential lawyers are after is even smaller. Some might argue that education is always beneficial, and a J.D. has a wide array of applications. But this seems untenable, and reeks of an optimism bias—the belief that everything will work out because I am a special snowflake. Law school degrees are extremely expensive, costing out of state applicants somewhere around $160,000, driving students into debt every year. Sure a degree from Harvard would justify this debt, but schools like SUNY and Iowa are almost certainly trying to take your money.
Lawyering is a noble profession, at least more reputable than banking or finance. Potential lawyers should take the LSAT and see what they are made of. The worst that can happen is you bomb the test and decide law isn’t for you. The best thing that could happen is you get involved with one of the most lucrative vocations known to man.