Paul L. Caron

Friday, February 12, 2016

ABA Considers Tougher Bar Exam Accreditation Requirement:  75% Pass Within Two Years Of Graduation

ABAABA Journal, Tougher, Simpler Bar-Passage Requirements for Law Schools to be Considered by ABA Committee:

An ABA committee on Friday will take up a proposal that would toughen—and greatly simplify—the bar passage requirements of the law school accreditation standards.

Under the proposal, a law school would have to demonstrate that 75 percent of its graduates who took a bar exam within two years of their graduation passed.

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This is an excellent proposal. It will go a great way toward eliminating the exploitation and debt imprisonment of many vulnerable and naive 0Ls.

Posted by: Jojo | Feb 12, 2016 5:11:10 AM

I have faith that this won't pass. And given that at least one law school* was offering graduates $5k or $10k the week of the bar exam to NOT to take the bar exam, I foresee what one of the gamesmanship techniques will be.

*Cooley or one of the Infilaws; I can't remember offhand but TaxProf covered it.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 12, 2016 7:40:02 AM

What is the position of the Sterling Partners or the real estate trust that's holding the paper on TJLS or any other unranked school?

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Feb 12, 2016 7:58:18 AM

If by excellent you mean "insane" I agree. Some states have very easy bars, some have more difficult bars. So schools in hard states shouldn't be held to the same standards.

Moreover, the whole notion of relying on bar pass rates to control admissions abuses is ridiculous for two reasons.
1. Whether a student passes the bar is the student's responsibility, not the school's (assuming that the student is smart enough that he's capable of passing, which I realize is not universally the case). The school can't make the student study.
2. To the extent that schools are responsible, they teach to the test, which maybe isn't such a good idea.
3. Relying heavily on bar pass rates gives bar examiners the right to wipe out law schools by changing pass scores.
4. Having said that, Jojo points out a real problem. But there is an alternative that avoids these problems: regulating admissions rather than bar pass rates. Without getting into the details, David Frakt has a proposal that would do exactly that:

Posted by: bol | Feb 12, 2016 8:13:13 AM

What percentage of current ABA -accredited schools would not meet that criterion?

Posted by: Jeff Smith | Feb 12, 2016 8:51:31 AM