Monday, August 12, 2013
Wall Street Journal, Law School Claims Bar Passage Rate is Meaningless:
A California law school is claiming that it has a First Amendment right not to help students find out how many of its graduates are passing the state’s bar exam.
Southern California Institute of Law is suing bar association officials for requiring that it include information on its website advising students where they can view exam passage rates online.
The school argues — in a federal lawsuit filed February — that the rule infringes on its speech rights. It claims that it forces them to endorse the notion that a school’s exam passage rate reflects the quality of its legal education. SCIL thinks one has nothing to do with the other. “[D]efendants have no right to foist their ideology onto SCIL and compel it to refer or disclose bar passage rates of its graduates,” the school stated in a legal brief last week. ...
None of the 43 SCIL graduates who took the 2012 California Bar Examination passed, according to state data. Over the course of a dozen test cycles between 2007 and 2012, SCIL graduates failed 93% of the time, the defendants claim. ...
In the original complaint, SCIL also objected to a new requirement that California-accredited law schools maintain a pass rate of at least 40%. A federal judge tossed out that challenge on procedural grounds because California schools still have another four years to raise their rates. Thus, the judge thought it wasn’t clear that the school had suffered an injury. SCIL has appealed that ruling.
Update: The Volokh Conspiracy.