Law schools to try ‘blind interviews’

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Law schools to try ‘blind interviews’

A new “blind interview” method is being adopted during the admission process to Korea’s Western-style law schools starting this year, a measure to ensure impartiality in the selection process.

This measure is a part of graduate-level law schools’ efforts to put less importance on personal statements and more weight on quantitative assessments such as the Legal Education Eligibility Test (LEET), considered the Korean equivalent of the U.S. LSAT, and school transcripts.

This comes after the current law school application process was widely criticized for its obscure, unfair admissions practices.

The Korean Association of Law Schools on Monday submitted a statement to the National Assembly calling for reforms the implementation of proposed reforms to the law school application process.

In Korea, application packages to law school programs include LEET scores, undergraduate transcripts and personal statements.

The personal statement technically should not include information regarding parents and relatives’ careers, so as to prevent nepotism in favor of the children of legal professionals or high-ranking officials.

However, earlier this month, the Ministry of Education conducted a study of the admissions essays of students accepted to the country’s 25 law schools in the past three years and found that there were 24 students who were accepted after they had revealed that their parents or relatives were senior judges, prosecutors or high-ranking officials in government.

The association’s reform plans include getting law schools to have at least one-third of the members of their interview committees recruited from outside the school.

The interviews of law school hopefuls will be conducted “blind,” without documents indicating applicants’ schools or majors and without their personal statements, either.

Through these reforms, a provision will be made so that the mentioning of parents or relatives by name, or referring to their occupation in one’s personal statement, will be banned.

The association is also looking to get law schools to reveal the undergraduate schools, majors, LEET scores, grades and other evaluation standards used in order to make the process more transparent.

BY CHUN IN-SUNG, SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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