Company acquires exclusive license from University of Arizona to administer new law School admissions test

Nov. 1, 2023

Aspen Publishing invests in JD-Next, envisioning a new and effective path for future legal professionals.

Aspen Publishing and JD-Next logos

Adapted from story published on September 20, 2023, by the College of Law.

Aspen Publishing has secured an exclusive license to JD-Nexta groundbreaking law school admissions test. Developed over the past five years by the University of Arizona Law, with active participation by more than 40 law schools, colleges and universities and thousands of students across the country, JD-Next now enters a new phase under Aspen Publishing's administration, aiming to provide aspiring law students from all backgrounds with valuable resources for their educational journey. 

Tech Launch Arizona, the office of the UArizona that commercializes inventions stemming from research and innovation, facilitated the process of licensing the JD-Next test to Aspen.

“Aspen is a fantastic partner and we look forward to continuing to work with them going forward,” said Doug Hockstad, associate vice president of Tech Launch Arizona. “Their enthusiasm for what JD-Next represents validates the work our College of Law invested in its development. Beyond that, this relationship demonstrates how innovative work going on throughout the UArizona academic community can be brought to create wider impact, including social impact, in the world.”

JD-Next was designed to bridge the gap in law school preparation and offer a more reliable measure of a student’s ability to learn and succeed in law school. The fully online program includes an eight-week course which covers doctrinal concepts and legal skills workshops. The course culminates in a final exam that tests participants’ grasp of the material.

This past June, the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions Council approved a variance for law schools to use the program in lieu of other admissions tests including the LSAT and GRE. Numerous law schools have already been approved to accept the test as part of their admission process.

“The JD-Next course is designed to empower students with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in law school and beyond; the JD-Next test is designed to assess a person's potential, not to judge their past. Aspen Publishing has long been a leader in legal education, and this partnership ensures wider access, skilled administration, and unlimited potential for this transformative program,” said Marc L. Miller, Dean of University of Arizona Law. “We are excited to see the impact JD-Next can have on legal education and the legal profession under Aspen's leadership.

Aspen Publishing is a trusted leader in legal education, offering a comprehensive range of educational content and digital solutions to law schools globally. Renowned for its authoritative textbooks, including the iconic "red and black" casebooks in the Aspen Casebook Series, Aspen also produces study aids such as PracticePerfect and technology tools such as Connected Quizzing which are designed to increase student engagement and improve learning outcomes.

“JD-Next aligns with our mission of providing top-tier resources for students and law schools,” said Joe Terry, Vice President and Publisher at Aspen. “Our collaboration with University of Arizona enhances our shared goal of preparing learners for a successful journey. For students, it’s not just about what you know, it’s about what you are capable of, and JD-Next demonstrates this perfectly.”

The JD-Next initiative was championed by Dean Miller alongside Jess Findley, current Principal Investigator and Director of JD-Next, and Christopher Robertson, Founding Principal Investigator of JD-Next and Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives at Boston University School of Law. Since its development in 2019, the program has been supported by over $1.2 million in financial backing, including contributions from the AccessLex Institute and the ETS Foundation, and has already been implemented at almost 40 law schools nationwide and has an alumni base of more than 2,000 successful students.

As part of Aspen's involvement with JD Next, test administration going forward will be conducted by Territorium, a global education technology company with more than 12 million users worldwide, which creates industry-leading comprehensive learner records (CLRs) that include personalized assessments and best-fit job opportunities for learners.

With the mantle now passed to Aspen Publishing, JD-Next emerges as a promising alternative to traditional admissions tests and heralds a new era of equitable and effective law school admissions, fostering a diverse community of successful legal professionals. As of the writing of this article, 33 schools, including Arizona Law, have applied for a variance allowing them to use JD-Next for their programs. 

Paul Tumarkin, Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications