rose711 wrote:Back on topic, yes, I knew that the LSAT score is important for rankings. It is fairly common knowledge. Sorry that was such a surprise to you.
This, but OP's simplistic commentary also ignores the deeper issue, which is, why
does it matter so much in the rankings? The OP fails to even consider if there's a reason the LSAT continues to be included by the rankings in the first place, the attitude seems to be that it's nearly arbitrary.
The truth is that the LSAT accomplishes a couple positive goals. First, before the LSAT became prominent, the two biggest admission factors were undergrad GPA and the prestige of your undergrad institution. In fact, from what I understand, UG institution was the largest factor at the top schools for a long time, and you basically had to have gone to an Ivy already to be considered. Moving to the LSAT provided a more merit-based primary element. This opened top law schools up to those from less prestigious UGs (and less prestigious backgrounds in general), at least to some extent. So there's the diversity advantage.
Second, the LSAT makes admissions more predictable. It's advantageous to students to be able to take a test and have a good idea based on that and their UGPA where they should apply. As much as people hate it when they don't do as well as they hoped, it's because
the score means something about where they can go--which means they have
that information up front, and can decide how or whether to proceed with admissions from there.
Third, it's a combination of learnable elements and useful predictors. Took it cold, and don't like how you did? Study and retake. It works
, to an extent. Gains in the 10-20 point range are possible, meaning you can make improvements if you're really dedicated to going to law school. But at the same time, the "learnable elements" still require application of logical reasoning, problem-solving, and reading comprehension, which really are among the most valuable mental attributes to practicing law. If you can learn to do well on a test with those elements, you've probably got the potential to make a decent lawyer.
Yeah, it sucks for the guy who got a 160 and could've had a 175 with enough prep, who just didn't realize he could gain that much by studying. But on the whole it's a fairer and more standardized admissions factor than what it displaced, and there really is a difference between someone who can hit a 175 and someone stuck in the 140s.
On that last point, it's also a bragging right for schools. Harvard and Yale want to claim they have the smartest and most capable students, and LSAT is one way of showing the world that. There's an advantage for the top schools to the LSAT being in the rankings, because it does provide them a straightforward way to claim their students are, on the whole, the most likely to succeed in the legal world. Until they come up with a more straightforward way to do that, the LSAT will persist, because that's an important part of those schools' identity and ability to place students well everywhere.
Basically, there's reasons the LSAT is a good thing, and I'm not hearing any better alternatives. Until I do, I'll support the LSAT for what it is. And I say this as one of the ones who vastly outperformed their GPA/LSAT and proved it's not perfect. It doesn't have to be perfect, just better than everything else that's available.