ABA proposal to revise legal education Standards 501 and 503

Project Details

Party(ies) Involved

American Bar Association Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar


Chicago, IL

Time Frame

June 1, 2022-Present

Project Overview

On June 1, 2022, the ABA published a memorandum (entitled “Matters for Notice and Comment: ABA Standards 501 and 503”) recommending changes to standards governing law schools. In particular, the memorandum suggested dropping the requirement that law-school applicants take an admissions test. Comments were due by September 1, 2022. Despite having received a lot of feedback – including from a group of law school deans – urging the ABA to keep its admissions test requirement in place, the ABA recommended approving the change during its November 2022 meeting. It is due to be submitted to the ABA’s House of Delegates in February 2023 for final approval.

Our Involvement

On September 1, 2022, LIF founder and president William A. Jacobson submitted a comment letter opposing some of the changes, in particular, dropping the admissions test requirement. In particular, Jacobson argued: “Given the timing of the decision and the ABA’s lack of explanation for it, a reasonable conclusion is that the change is related to the ABA’s recent proposed and actual revision of standards regarding law school admissions and so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion education; and to the pending Students for Fair Admissions cases. Providing schools with a way to evade a negative decision in the affirmative action cases is not a legitimate justification for such a testing change.”

Case Documents

Comment letter from William A. Jacobson to the ABA September 1, 2022