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New ABA Data Discovers Schools With Lowest Bar Passage Rates

Arizona Summit Law School, a for-profit law school in Phoenix, holds the second-lowest bar exam passage rate for 2015 graduates, according to data released by the American Bar Association.
Data to Serve as ‘Important Consumer Information’ for Applicants
Azcentral recently reported that 60% of 2015 Arizona Summit graduates passed the bar exam within two years. Compare that to the overall average for all law schools, which stands at 88%. In fact, only the University of Detroit’s Mercy School of Law had the lowest passage rate than Arizona Summit at 56%.
While the recent report on bar passage data won’t be used to evaluate law school compliancy, Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director, says it will serve as “important consumer information for students considering whether and where to attend law school and for others with an interest in legal education.”
In an interview with azcentral, Arizona Summit Law School president Don Lively responded that the law school’s ultimate bar passage rate for all graduates is actually 75%.
“We do bring in people who are in catch-up mode due to either economic or historical disadvantages,” Lively tells azcentral. “So it’s not surprising they need more than one opportunity to pass the bar examination, and ABA standards accommodate that.”
Arizona Summit’s History
Arizona Summit was recently found out of compliance with ABA standards regarding its finances in January. Last year, Arizona Summit was placed on ABA probation following the ABA’s investigation of the for-profit law school’s admission practices, academic program, and graduation and bar passage rates.
Ironically, Arizona Summit once had high bar passage rates. In an interview with The Arizona Republic last October, Arizona Summit Interim Dean Penny Willrich said that the school is aiming to bring bar exam passage rates back up to where they once were.
“My goal is to take us back to a time when we were very successful on the bar and had 75 and 80 percent (pass) range,” Willrich told The Arizona Republic. “I think we can get there with all the changes that have taken place. But of course, it’s going to take a little bit of time.”
Sources: azcentral, ABA, azcentral, ABA