COVID-19 and Law School Applications – UPDATED 2/23

The COVID pandemic and the response to it continue to impact various aspects of the law school admissions process. This post is updated regularly with new information and new questions (and answers), but remember that events are moving VERY fast these days, and circumstances are changing all the time. When in doubt, double-check the info to make sure it’s up to date. Don’t hesitate to contact individual law schools for the most accurate info about their own admissions process.

What about the LSAT?

NOTE: LSAC is updating this page regularly as new information emerges or as plans change.

UPDATED 2/23/21: Though at least June 2022, the LSAT will conitnue to be in the online LSAT-Flex format. However, beginning with the August test, LSAC will re-introduce the “experimental” section—an unscored section that LSAC uses to test out new questions. Accordingly, the test you take online will have four sections, three of which are scored. You will not know which section is the unscored one (just that you have an extra section of one type).

What to consider as you plan for the online test:

First, for the foreseeable future, the test will be online as LSAT-Flex.

Second, LSAT-Flex is different from the in-person test. The online version has just three equally weighted scored sections (instead of the traditional five, with four graded)—one each of Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning (arguments), and Analytical Reasoning (logic games), along with one unscored experimental section (beginning August 2021). That means that the reading comprehension and logic games sections are weighted more relative to the in-person test, and the arguments weighted less (because each section type represents one-third of your score, rather than one-quarter or one-half, respectively). This may affect how you’d want to prepare for the test.

Third, LSAT-Flex requires particular equipment and operating systems, a stable internet connection, and an interruption-free environment for two hours. You should assess whether your current computing systems and environment can meet these requirements. LSAC has committed to working with candidates to secure the appropriate equipment and testing location for those who need it – for details, see the FAQ section of LSAC’s LSAT-Flex post.

Finally, there is no indication that law schools will view the LSAT-Flex any differently from the in-person LSAT, although LSAT-Flex scores will be flagged as such. As with regular testing, admissions officials will certainly take note of any big score jumps (for example, between and in-person test and an online one), and in such cases, an explanatory addendum is appropriate. Over the next few years, both LSAC and individual law schools will be conducting research to assess the relative predictive value of the online version, but that research won’t impact admissions for at least a year or more.

If you are a UMass student or alum and would like to discuss your particular situation, please feel free to contact me.

By Diane Curtis
Diane Curtis Pre-Law Advisor & Senior Lecturer Diane Curtis