University of Melbourne removes LSAT as entry requirement for Juris Doctor

The Melbourne Law School (MLS) has permanently removed the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as an entry requirement for all Juris Doctor (JD) applicants from 2022 and beyond


The Melbourne Law School (MLS) has permanently removed the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as an entry requirement for all Juris Doctor (JD) applicants from 2022 and beyond.

The Law School’s admissions board had previously removed completion of the LSAT as an entry requirement for the 2022 intake as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on students, and initially planned to reinstate it following the easing of restrictions.

The Law School has justified their decision to permanently remove the LSAT as it “has greatly increased the diversity and equity in entry for our program while retaining the strong academic standards we expect in our JD cohort”.

“This is something that we believe is important to retain in our future intakes,” stated the Law School.

Weighted Average Marks (WAMs) and whether students’ grades are on an upwards or downwards trajectory will now be used as the main selection criteria, which was previously considered by the selection committee in conjunction with an applicant’s LSAT results.

However, UMSU Education (Academic) Officer Moira Negline believes that the use of the WAM as the main selection criteria for entry may also prove problematic.

“2020 and 2021 undergraduate intakes have only had one semester of subjects eligible for consideration … this presents noticeably different circumstances compared to previous cohorts of JD candidates,” said Negline.

“It is crucial that the University address this disparity by clarifying how the WAMs of these cohorts will be evaluated by the selection committee.”

There have also been complaints amongst students who had already completed the LSAT believing it would be reinstated for future intakes.

“The worst part is not even necessarily the removal of the LSAT itself, but the severe lack of organisation displayed by the University,” said third-year Bachelor of Arts student Annelise Adam.

“The board were fully aware that their decision was made following an LSAT sitting time … I’ve invested over $350 into study materials and the test fee. I quit my job in order to study for the test and engaged in 10 hours of weekly preparation, none of which will now increase my likelihood of achieving JD admission.”

However, the Melbourne Law School stated removing the LSAT as a requirement following an LSAT sitting time was made to ensure “the changed selection criteria did not detract from student performances in the Juris Doctor”.

Though UMSU’s Education (Academic) Officers agree that the LSAT’s removal has helped to reduce inequity associated with entry into the JD in the midst of the pandemic, they believe that “in the event that students have completed the LSAT in anticipation of their application, an option should be provided for these students to include test scores received before the announcement for consideration”.

“??As students typically sit the LSAT up to 24 months before they apply for the JD, a significant number of potential candidates for the 2023 intake may have already sat the LSAT in the event the Law School reinstated this requirement,” said Negline.

“The lack of clarification of this requirement for cohorts beyond 2022 is especially frustrating for these students, who have invested time and money in the absence of notice or confirmation from the University about a potential change in entry requirements going forward.”


Image provided by the University of Melbourne.

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