American Bar Association To Review Stricter Bar Passage Requirements
The American Bar Association will meet Friday and Saturday (February 12 and 13) to decide on implementing stricter bar passage rates for schools to remain accredited. The new ABA-accreditation requirements state that a school must maintain a 75% average bar passage rate over two-year increments.
Currently, there are two ways that schools can meet the bar pass rate requirement. The most common is not falling more than 15 points lower than the state average. For example, if a law school in Washington State had an average bar pass rate of 57% and the state average was 73%, the school would be subject to losing accreditation. The other way to meet accreditation standards is by showing at least 75% of your graduates passed the bar in three of the last five years.
If the proposal is adopted by the ABA, it would eliminate the first option and close the timeframe of the second option from five years to two years. The Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar’s Standards Review Committee will review the proposal in New Orleans this weekend. If the Committee approves the proposal, it must be then be approved by the Committee’s governing council.
Of course the regulations are in place to attempt to keep law schools from admitting students who are unlikely to make it through a legal program or pass the bar. The passing of this proposal would come with a lot of push-back from many schools, but has also been championed by those in the legal community concerned with schools graduating students with six figures in debt and little chance of passing the bar.
The Committee tried to pass a similar proposal two years ago but it failed. At this weekend’s meeting, the Committee will also review a proposal that would allow law schools to admit students who have not taken the LSAT. Under the first proposal, law schools would be able to admit students who have taken another admissions test that the law school can prove “valid and reliable.” The second proposal would allow law schools to admit students who otherwise have evidence of law school success, such as a high undergraduate GPA or applicable previous work experience, with no admissions test.
Source: ABA Journal
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