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
Update: The Volokh Conspiracy.