Top UB students offered LSAT-free admission to Law School

Photo University at Buffalo.

Photo University at Buffalo.

Published February 5, 2015

High-performing UB undergraduates will have a simpler route to beginning their legal education, thanks to two new initiatives of SUNY Buffalo Law School.

One initiative targets students in the University Honors College, which offers enriched courses of study for academically gifted students. The other is aimed more broadly at UB undergraduates who are excelling in their studies. Each offers admission to SUNY Buffalo Law School — SUNY’s only law school — without the usual requirement of the rigorous half-day test, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

“We want to create another pathway into the Law School,” says Lillie Wiley-Upshaw, vice dean for admissions and student life at the Law School. “These programs offer direct admission for UB undergraduates, as well as graduate students who fit these criteria.”

The American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar regulates the standards that accredited law schools must meet. That body ruled last year that law schools may admit up to 10 percent of their incoming class without requiring the LSAT. Besides the $170 test fee and the cost in time spent studying for and taking the test, the LSAT is offered only four times a year, which can be a challenge for students trying to meet application deadlines.

Those eligible for the broader program are UB students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher through six semesters of academic work and have scored at the 85th percentile on a standardized test. Besides the SAT and ACT, eligible tests include the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Qualified students will be given priority consideration for admission to the Law School.

The other initiative not only waives the LSAT requirement for University Honors College students who meet the same criteria, it guarantees them admission to the Law School. In addition, it establishes special programming for those students, enabling them to consider career choices in law and build a relationship with the Law School while still an undergraduate. Interested students are encouraged to sign up for the program in their freshman year.

“The goal is to enhance their experience in the Honors College,” Wiley-Upshaw says. That will include such elements as visits to the Law School’s home in John Lord O’Brian Hall, opportunities to meet and talk with law professors and current law students, attend workshops, help with faculty research and enroll in undergraduate seminars on legal topics taught by Law School faculty members.

The direct admission initiatives will take effect with the entering class of 2015.

Honors College students admitted through the guaranteed admission program are included in the 10 percent admission rule.