What is JD-Next? If you’re thinking about going to law school in the US in the next few years, JD-Next is something you’re going to have to learn, since it might become the first step for how to get into law school. JD-Next is a new law school admissions test that might phase out the LSAT, or GRE in the next few years as the key standardized test to get into law school. JD-Next is currently being tested by 47 different ABA-certified law schools as part of their admissions process to see whether it will become a permanent fixture in law school admissions. This blog will answer basic questions such as what is JD-Next, how to prepare for it, and how it differs from other standardized tests.


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7 min read

What is JD-Next? Law Schools in the US Allowed to Use JD-Next Why is JD-Next Being Introduced to Law School Admissions? JD-Next: How Does it Work? JD-Next: How It’s Different from the LSAT or GRE FAQs

What is JD-Next?

JD-Next is a new type of law school admissions test created by faculty at the University of Arizona College of Law that aims to train prospective law students for law school, rather than testing their inherent abilities through standardized tests such as the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

The JD-Next test differs significantly from traditional options like the LSAT and GRE by incorporating an eight-week online preparatory course that immerses you in important legal concepts and legal skills, culminating in a final exam, the JD-Next exam. The JD-Next exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions and an unscored written essay, with scores ranging from 400 to 1,000. The ABA has given permission for the schools we list below to use JD-Next however they choose, as these schools applied for the permission to use it. Every school is choosing how, or even if they will, use it during admissions. But applying and receiving permission doesn't mean they are getting rid of LSAT. Some schools are experimenting with it, others have permission but are not using it.

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Law Schools in the US Allowed to Use JD-Next

  • University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law         
  • Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
  • Atlanta's John Marshall Law School
  • Boston College Law School
  • Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School
  • California Western School of Law
  • University of California-Davis School of Law
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law      
  • Charleston School of Law
  • University of Cincinnati College of Law
  • City University of New York School of Law
  • Cleveland State University College of Law
  • Creighton University School of Law 
  • University of Dayton School of Law
  • Drake University Law School
  • Emory University School of Law
  • Florida International University College of Law
  • George Washington University Law School
  • Georgetown University Law Center
  • University of Georgia School of Law
  • Hofstra University, Maurice A. Deane School of Law
  • Indiana University-Bloomington Maurer School of Law       
  • Loyola University-New Orleans College of Law
  • University of Maine School of Law
  • University of Massachusetts Law School
  • University of Miami School of Law
  • Mississippi College School of Law
  • University of Nebraska College of Law
  • Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center
  • Oklahoma City University School of Law
  • University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • University of San Diego School of Law
  • University of South Dakota School of Law
  • St. Mary’s University School of Law
  • Suffolk University Law School
  • Syracuse University College of Law
  • Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law
  • Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Texas Tech University School of Law
  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School           
  • University of Toledo College of Law
  • Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Western New England University School of Law
  • Widener University Delaware Law School
  • University of Wisconsin Law School
  • Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Why is JD-Next Being Introduced to Law School Admissions?

The structure of JD-Next aims to measure your learning abilities, predict your performance in law school, and, ultimately, reduce racial and ethnic disparities observed in standardized testing outcomes. That’s what its proponents argue. But the American Bar Association (ABA) is not convinced. According to Nathan R. Kuncel, PhD, University of Minnesota, who performed an independent analysis of the validity of the JD-Next, the JD-Next exam should be used “as a secondary supplement to existing and well validated measures like college grades, LSAT, or GRE scores.”

For these reasons, the rollout of JD-Next has been uneven across all the law schools that have been granted an exception to use it. For example, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, where the exam was initially developed, will accept JD-Next scores in lieu of LSAT scores or GRE scores for the next application cycle. However, the University of California-Davis School of Law was granted permission to use JD-Next as part of law school admissions but is declining to consider any JD-Next scores.

As this is the case, you should triple-check your law school’s admissions requirements to see how exactly it is using JD-Next. Every law school, from the prestigious T14 law schools to the easiest law schools to get into, has different admissions requirements so, naturally, they would have different approaches on using the test or not. JD-Next is a novel test and has only recently been rolled out, so more time needs to pass and more research needs to be done before it is more widely accepted, if at all.

JD-Next: How Does it Work?

JD-Next was developed for several reasons, which include:

  • Helping to develop skills relevant to the legal profession
  • Reducing racial disparities in law school admissions
  • Assessing competencies better than the LSAT and GRE

The way JD-Next tries to achieve these goals is two-pronged. First, you’re enrolled in the program’s eight-week, non-credit, fully-online introductory course. During this course, you’ll learn about subjects such as:

At the end of this course, you’ll be prepared to take the JD-Next exam, which is the second, and ultimately, most important part of the entire program.

JD-Next: How It’s Different from the LSAT or GRE

This structure is obviously different from the traditional LSAT or GRE exams, where you alone are responsible for how you decide to prepare or study. Studying and preparing for the LSAT means a lot of work. You have to find and catalog LSAT practice problems; you have to read through a lot of LSAT writing samples and learn about LSAT reading comprehension strategies. You have to figure out how long to study for the LSAT and then develop your own LSAT study schedule, and more often than not, pay for a premium, LSAT prep course to ensure you get the best score possible the first time around, although taking the LSAT a second-time is also common.

With JD-Next, the eight-week online preparatory course takes care of all that. It evens the playing field by giving all participants the same study resources and support for the same test, unlike the LSAT, where private test-prep companies charge hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars for use of their services, which freezes out low-income and underrepresented groups from getting adequate support.

Conversely, JD-Next was designed (by over 40 different law school deans) to equip you with all the essential legal principles and skills foundational to ace both the JD-Next exam and law school curriculum. Of course, JD-Next is not free. The program does offer a fee waiver for people from low-income backgrounds, but for everyone else, JD-Next costs $299 for the eight-week course and the exam.

JD-Next: Course Structure

The course structure of JD-Next is divided into two, four-week sections. The first section focuses on skills development, while the second half of the program exposes you to doctrinal law and forces you to apply the skills you learned in the first module. In total, the JD-Next course and exam aims to test your proficiency in 15 different learning outcomes decided on by the creators of the test.

The eight-week course begins with approximately 10 hours of segmented video content, featuring a mix of introductory concepts, in-depth lectures, and concise summaries designed to enhance your learning experience. On your first day, you’ll have a “Case Brief Workshop”, which is intended to help you learn how to effectively read legal cases and identify critical rules and facts with clarity.

While not exactly the same as your first year of law school where you’ll study case law every day, the JD-Next curriculum still borrows heavily from law school curricula, as it incorporates some of the most studied legal cases into the course, which you must analyze and study, since these case studies are complemented by straightforward quizzes to reinforce your understanding. Each lesson challenges you with a written “problem of the day,” allowing you to apply the concepts you’re learning in a practical context.

JD-Next: Course Delivery

Despite being online, the course strives to be interactive, featuring live webinars, discussion boards, and opportunities for one-on-one consultations with instructors. Alongside scheduled sessions, there may be self-paced learning elements allowing you to delve deeper into topics of interest or spend more time on challenging areas.

Upon completing the course, you should have a solid foundation in key legal concepts and skills, improved critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and enhanced legal research and writing capabilities. Additionally, the course aims to familiarize you with the format and expectations of the JD-Next exam, so you’re better-prepared and more confident on test day.

JD-Next: How is the Test Scored?

Upon completing the JD-Next exam, it can take up to four weeks for your score report to be released. When they are released, you’ll decide which law schools will receive your score report directly from JD-Next.

Your score report consists of your:

  • Individual score (JD-Next score range is between 400-1,000)
  • Percentile (how you compare to other test takers)
  • Rolling, three-year average (if you’ve taken it more than once)
  • Aggregated test performance

The JD-Next score report also includes a graded assessment of your strength in the 15 key areas that are supposed to be taught by the course, which include areas such as:

  • Expectation Damages
  • Objective Theory
  • Past Consideration
  • Procedure Posture

Each of the fifteen areas appears on your score report, along with a range of one to four stars, with one star being the lowest, and four representing your strongest areas. This section of your score report is what makes JD-Next unique in that you, as well as law school admissions officers and deans, can see what areas you struggle in, and which ones you excel in. Meaning, you have a better idea of how you’ll potentially do in law school.

FAQs 

1. What is JD-Next?

JD-Next is a new law school admissions test that also consists of an eight-week online preparatory course to prepare you specifically for the test. Unlike traditional exams, it combines doctrinal learning with skill-building workshops to better prepare you for law school and assess your readiness in a more holistic manner.

2. How do I register for JD-Next?

To register for JD-Next, visit the official Aspen Publishing website. You'll find detailed instructions on how to sign up for the next available session, including the preparatory course and exam. Ensure you meet the registration deadlines to secure your spot.

3. What does the JD-Next preparatory course cover?

The eight-week online course focuses on essential legal principles and skills, including critical thinking, legal analysis, and writing. It starts with skill-building workshops, followed by doctrinal law application, using classic cases and quizzes for practical understanding.

4. How much study time is required for the JD-Next course?

You should expect to dedicate six to nine hours per week to the course. This includes watching video lectures, participating in case brief workshops, and completing daily problems and quizzes to reinforce your learning.

5. What is the format of the JD-Next exam?

The final exam is done online, lasts for four hours and predominantly consists of multiple-choice questions, along with a writing component. This format is designed to test both your knowledge acquired from the course and your ability to apply it in a practical context.

6. How are JD-Next scores reported to law schools?

Upon completing the JD-Next exam, your scores are processed and sent directly to the law schools you've designated.

7. Can I retake JD-Next if I'm not satisfied with my score?

Yes, you have the option to retake JD-Next. 

8. How does JD-Next compare to the LSAT or GRE?

JD-Next is uniquely designed to not only assess your readiness for law school through an exam but also prepare you through a comprehensive course. While the LSAT and GRE test analytical and verbal reasoning skills, JD-Next focuses on teaching foundational legal knowledge and skills, making it, according to its creators, a more practical preparatory experience for law school.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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