Since 2010, applicants to the Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) have been taking an LSAT specifically created for the purpose of admission to the STL. The LSAT-STL is an adapted version of the regular LSAT, and it is designed for applicants who are not native speakers of English. The test is administered only in Beijing and Shanghai, and the cost is approximately $130 USD. Previously, the test had been administered by LSAC, but starting with the March 2013 administration, the LSAT-STL was administered by the school, and, interestingly, the STL processed the answer sheets and calculated the scores. This brings up two questions: why are they doing this, and what does it mean for the future?
The "why" is fairly easy to answer: the STL program is a four-year dual degree program leading to an English-language Juris Doctor degree and a Chinese-language Juris Master degree. Thus, with the program producing JD/JM degrees, they needed a test that reflected reasoning ability, and the LSAT is the natural exam to use for that purpose.
Because the program features both the English and Chinese languages, the LSAT-STL is given in English, but it is modified for non-native English speakers, which means that it isn't as difficult as the regular LSAT, and it trades less on the nuances of language that are typically tested on the LSAT. So, in this sense, the LSAT-STL is like the lite version of the regular LSAT.
The STL program itself is lead by some heavyweights: Jeffrey S. Lehman (the former President of Cornell University and former Dean of the University of Michigan Law School) and Stephen T. Yandle (the former Associate Dean of the Yale Law School). Enrollment, while still small (just under 100 students per class) is growing yearly.
The second question is, what does this mean for the future? LSAC is clearly embarking on plan to globalize the use the LSAT (similar to what GMAC did with the GMAT), and recent forays into administering special LSATs in India, Puerto Rico, and China are all indicative of this plan. We'll talk more about that plan, and what it means for LSAT takers in one of our upcoming posts.
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Photo: "Peking University" courtesy of Ryan_xm.