TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

California Raises Bar Passage Standard to 40% for State-Accredited Law Schools

CA state bar logoThe California State Bar has raised the bar passage standard to 40% for California-accredited law schools:

Last month, the State Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners voted to adopt changes to its guidelines for accredited law schools to specify that they must maintain a cumulative bar examination rate of at least 40% in order to keep their status. ...

Sean McCoy, chair of the committee, said the change was necessary to help clarify some of the standards used to judge law schools’ curriculum. “Prior to this change, the version of the accreditation rules and guidelines stated that the cumulative success on the bar exam by graduates from a California accredited law school was a factor the committee considered in evaluating the quality of a school's legal education program,” McCoy wrote in an email. “However, the guidelines did not establish a quantitative percentage or other definition of ‘cumulative success,’ or specify a time period that would be used to measure that ‘cumulative success.’ ” ...

In the July 2012 exam, the California-accredited law schools had a 19.0% pass rate among first-time and repeat test-takers (133 of 699). Although none of the California ABA-accredited law schools fell below the 40% threshold, 12 out-of-state schools did:

  • Florida Coastal:  14%
  • Thomas Cooley: 16%
  • Detroit, UNLV:  18%
  • Gonzaga, Loyola-New Orleans:  20%
  • Seattle:  21%
  • Suffolk:  27%
  • Phoenix:  31%
  • Howard:  32%
  • Connecticut:  33%
  • Syracuse:  35%

(Hat Tip: Faculty Lounge.)

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