The LSAT: Genesis

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In the beginning the world of law admissions was without order and void, and uncertainty was upon its face. The spirit of a group of original wise old law professors was emerging to come to grips with the problem.

Then, in 1947 a group of legal educators (acting under the authority of the group of wise old law professors) set out to create a uniform national examination for admission to law school. And this group of educators said, "Let us be called the Law School Admission Council"; and they were called the "Law School Admission Council" (LSAC) and they saw that they were good. And there was evening and there was morning, a first day.

And LSAC said, "Let there be an operating corporation through which we can conduct our activities." And LSAC created Law School Admission Services (LSAS), which became the operating corporation through which all their activities were conducted. And LSAC/LSAS said that the purpose of our operating corporation is to generate revenue and for that we need a product and we need customers for that product. And LSAC/LSAS saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

And LSAC/LSAS said, "Give us a product for our new corporation to sell!" And LSAC/LSAS created the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). And LSAC/LSAS thought that the areas that were likely to he useful on the LSAT included: paragraph reading, analogies, syllogistic reasoning, inconsistencies, practical judgment, "productivity of ideas," and quantitative reasoning. And LSAC/LSAS saw that it was good and that it was to be. And LSAC/LSAS said we need buyers for our product. The law schools responded and provided the market for the product by forcing law school applicants to pay for the LSAT. By the 1970's the LSAT had established a well defined role as a very important part of the admissions process in nearly every ABA approved law school in the United States and most law schools in Canada. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

And LSAC/LSAS said let there be consultants for the purpose of designing the LSAT format and questions. And it was so. By contracting with representatives of the College Board, and later the Educational Testing Service, and later still the American College Testing Program, LSAC/LSAS was able to generate the LSAT. And so the LSAT moved from being a theoretical concept to the reality that characterizes the life of young lawyers-to-be. And LSAC/LSAS saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

And LSAC/LSAS said, "Let the LSAT be designed as a test determining basic competency for legal education." And so it was so. The first LSAT was a multiple choice exam designed to measure certain abilities important to the study of law and, thus, to aid law schools in assessing the academic promise of their applicants. The test was intended to cover a broad range of academic disciplines. It was designed to give no advantage to candidates from a particular academic background. The multiple choice questions yielding the LSAT score were designed to measure the ability to read, understand and solve problems in matters and contexts thought to be relevant to legal study. And LSAC/LSAS saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

And LSAC/LSAS said, "Let all activities surrounding the development, questions and answers to questions on the LSAT be shrouded in secrecy." And it was so. All information concerning test development, the actual test questions and the answers to the questions was kept secret. LSAC/LSAS simply reported an LSAT score to test takers without giving any opportunity for test takers to know what sections they had scored poorly on. In addition, there was no opportunity to know what answers were credited as correct or any opportunity to challenge the wisdom of LSAC/LSAS. Many promising careers were ruined. And LSAC/LSAS saw that this was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

And on the seventh day…

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