More Rankings Controversy – Michigan Dumps the LSAT (Sort of)

The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog has uncovered an interesting announcement on the Michigan Law School website regarding a new admissions policy.

The Wolverine Scholars Program allows University of Michigan undergraduates to apply to the law school without an LSAT score provided that the individual in question has a GPA of at least 3.8.

Michigan provides its rationale for the program on the website, but suffice it to say that this has “gaming the system” written all over it. It is common knowledge that the Michigan residency quotas negatively effects the school’s GPA and LSAT numbers, as out-of-state applicants consistently produce higher profiles. By eliminating the LSAT requirement for UM students, the law school is able to cherry pick applicants with high GPAs and no pesky LSAT scores to offset those glistening grades. The obvious benefit to eliminating the LSAT is that it enables the school to avoid admitting high-GPA UM applicants with low scores (that would drop the LSAT percentiles and negatively affect the rankings), but the other side of the coin is that the school can lock in extremely bright students who might have scored in the 170s and gone elsewhere.

The whole thing feels pretty cheap and almost painfully obvious. Someone get U.S. News and World on the phone and let them know they have yet another adjustment to make to the rankings.