Monday, September 12, 2016

ABA Committee Recommends Tougher Bar Pass Standard

From the ABA Journal:

"Standard 316 holds that accredited law schools are not in compliance if within five years fewer than 75 percent of first-time test-takers do not pass bar exams or the schools are not within 15 points of state bar passage rates. But the ABA Accreditation Standards Review Committee approved a proposal Saturday to change the requirement so that schools must show that 75 percent of their graduating classes pass a bar exam within two years.

The proposal, which the committee approved unanimously, was forwarded to the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which will consider it in October.

Committee member Ward Farnsworth, dean of the University of Texas School of Law, suggested that the 75 percent requirement was too low."

"At an August hearing about the proposal, committee members heard the public’s comments (PDF), with concerns mostly centered on whether it would harm law schools that serve disadvantaged populations or are in states with low bar passage rates."

"The committee also submitted a proposed interpretation of Standard 501-3, dealing with student attrition. The proposal states that if a specific class has an attrition rate of more than 20 percent, the school would be required to demonstrate that its admission policies are consistent with the standard requirements.

'I was shocked when I looked at attrition rates in excess of 20 percent,' said Peter A. Joy, professor and director of the criminal justice clinic at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. 'It’s hard to imagine a school has a sound admissions policy when students are doing that.'”

(Scott Fruehwald)

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