Eastern facade of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Photo credit: Jeffrey M. Vinocur

The University of Pennsylvania School of Law announced on Monday that it will be accepting Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) results in lieu of Law School Admission Test scores for its JD track beginning in the fall of this year as part of a new pilot program.

Penn Law will be the first law school in the country to accept the GMAT from students solely applying to the law school, and not just to a dual degree program that combines a JD and MBA.  Penn will be the 18th law school in the country to accept the GRE.

The Philadelphia law school’s decision to accept the GMAT and GRE aligns with the school’s cross-disciplinary focus, which includes close connections with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

“This new initiative allows applicants who plan to take the GMAT or GRE, particularly those interested in our joint degree programs such as our many partnerships with Wharton, including the Francis J. and Wm. Polk Carey JD/MBA program, or our law and technology joint degrees with Penn Engineering, to support their application to Penn Law with a single test,” Ted Ruger, dean of Penn Law, said in the announcement of the pilot program.

Other law schools have allowed applicants to submit GMAT scores in lieu of LSAT scores for their JD/MBA programs, but they have not allowed applicants to the JD program alone to do so.

Penn Law’s pilot program was announced as the American Bar Association is preparing to vote on whether or not to drop the requirement that law schools use the LSAT in admissions testing. On May 11, the ABA’s counsel of the section of legal education voted to move the proposal forward.

Opponents of the ABA measure say that eliminating the use of the LSAT would hurt both law schools and those applying to law schools. However, those in favor of eliminating the LSAT requirement say that those students who have taken other admissions tests, namely the GRE, have not fallen behind those students who got into law school by taking the LSAT.

This story has been corrected to clarify that Penn Law is the first U.S. law school to accept the GMAT for admissions to a law program only. Other schools have accepted the GMAT in lieu of the LSAT, but only for joint JD/MBA programs.