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Stanford and the LSAT part ways.


Troubled times in Newtown, PA. Troubled times, indeed. We brought you the news a couple of weeks ago that Harvard was opening the door equally to applicants with GRE scores as well as the traditional applicant with an LSAT score.

Well, Stanford did them one better in an announcement last night as everyone was going off to Friday night fun: Stanford will accept the GRE only. Here’s the opening shot of their press release.

Effective immediately, applicants to Stanford Law School will no longer be admitted with a Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score only. Each applicant must submit an official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score obtained in the previous five years to be considered for admission.

This second shoe to drop — next domino to fall, however you want to characterize it — may have more to do with how Stanford and Harvard eye each other across the law school playing field rather than how they weigh the benefits of the LSAT versus the GRE.

Harvard’s explanation for their earlier shift was that they wanted to fish in an expanded pool of applicants to maximize their ability to find students with talent and promise. That’s good to hear, and most folks would call it a welcome change (save those wandering the halls bereft at LSAC).

Another, less noble, reason Harvard might’ve taken this move is that it took a tumble from shared silver to solo bronze in US News & World Report’s most recent round of law school rankings. Stanford — that mighty Ivy of the west coast — stands alone in second place just behind storied Yale Law School.

A huge factor in rankings is a school’s median LSAT score. So, the theory goes, Harvard can be more choosy when fishing in the LSAT pool because they can supplement that pool with GRE students.

It may just be that, in response to Harvard’s gambit, Stanford is just going to blow up the current system to see what happens. Who knows? Maybe when the dust settles, Stanford will knock ancient Yale off its perennial perch atop the rankings. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see?