Non-ABA-Accredited Law Schools in California Show Low Bar Pass Rate

Non-ABA-Accredited Law Schools in California Show Low Bar Pass Rate

Non-ABA-accredited law schools in California are showing low bar passage rates, according to a new report from the State Bar of California.

July 2022 bar exam results show that only 21% of graduates from the 18 California-accredited schools successfully passed, compared to 67% among graduates of ABA-accredited law schools, Reuters reports.

State Bar Executive Director Leah Wilson says the new report raises questions about the future of law school regulation in the state, “including an assessment of the true value of a legal education absent a likely prospect of bar exam passage.”


Currently, California is home to 18 ABA-accredited law schools, which allows grads to take the bar exam in any state they choose.

In addition to ABA-accredited law schools, the state also offers its own accreditation, which requires grads of California-accredited schools to take the bar only in the state of California. Students from unaccredited law schools are permitted to take the California Bar, only after passing the state’s First Year Law Students Exam.


The new report also highlights widely different attrition rates (dropout rate) between differently accredited law schools. The attrition rate for first-year California law students at ABA-accredited law schools is 8%, compared with 42% at California-accredited law schools, and 51% at unaccredited law schools.

Despite having higher attrition rates than ABA-accredited law schools, both California-accredited and unaccredited law schools have more diverse student bodies. At ABA-accredited law schools in California, students of color comprise 46% of the enrollment, while in California-accredited schools, they make up 56%, and 50% at unaccredited law schools.

Sources: Reuters, The State Bar of California

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