The University of Arizona announced this year that they would be accepting scores from the from the GRE, a more general graduate school admissions test. While law students in the past had no choice but to sit for the four hour LSAT which is only offered a couple of times a year, this new option may provide more opportunities to create a more diverse pool of law school candidates.
In a time when court logs are backed up for months, even years, law schools and the American Bar Association continue to look for ways to encourage more people to enter the field. Although the LSAT is the way that law schools have screened prospective students before, this does not have to be the case. The GRE test is available nearly any day during the year while the LSAT is available in select locations just four times a year.
Finding a broader base of applicants to fill the needed lawyer opening is one of the reasons that some schools are considering adding this second testing option. Additionally, this testing option may provide law schools with a greater variety of applicants. This change is about increasing numbers and diversity at the same time, and while not all schools are following suit, many agree that something must be done about the declining number of students entering law school.
What Kind of Lawyer Do You Want to Be?
the law field is as varied as the medical field. Prospective lawyers make choices between patent litigation, mediation services, bankruptcy, and product liability, to name a few. While some go into the field to try criminal cases before a jury, others want to become lawyers so that they can file patent litigation suits from an office and never even enter the court room. Options for trials that are only heard before a judge and not a jury, in fact, are far more frequent than the television legal drama cases we watch form the comfort of our living room chair.
One kind of law that is becoming more and more popular is environmental law. As more than 33% of all counties in the lower 48 states increasingly face higher risks of water shortages as a result of global warming, attorneys work against large corporations that are some times at fault for creating these problems. Exploring water license agreements that were filed and approved many years ago, for example, might be something that an environmental lawyer spends a great deal of time investigating.
Patent litigation attorneys might find themselves protecting the environment as well. As scientists and engineers work to find ways to clean the air we breathe and the water we drink, patent lawyers may find themselves protecting one discovery from being stolen by another inventor. The fact that more than 40% of Americans are worried about indoor and outdoor air quality indicates the need for this research will continue. As as engineers and scientists look for ways to decrease or eliminate carbon emissions, tropospheric ozone, particulate matter, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds, refrigerants, and methane emissions, patent litigation lawyers will most certainly be the ones trying to protect these discoveries.
A quick look at the field of environmental law is an indicator of the future attorneys that will be needed in just this one field. As law schools across the country continue to look for more ways to encourage the best and the brightest to enter law schools, more, like the University of Arizona, may begin to consider a different screening test than the LSAT.
Are You a Minority Looking for a Way to Make an Impact Through Law School?
One in three black Americans say they have experienced discrimination within the past calendar year. Additionally, 50% of black Americans indicate that they have experienced discrimination in the workplace or the voting booth. Some civil rights advocates see a more diverse set of lawyers as judges as a way to solve these problems. Minority college graduates who have an interest in the law and the fair treatment of all citizens might consider looking at law school as an option. As the American Bar Association attempts to address the need for both more applicants and more diversity, the opportunities for minorities may become more prevalent.