Paul L. Caron

Monday, March 7, 2016

ABA May Impose Tougher 75% Bar Passage Standard, Allow Admission To Law School Without Any Standardized Test

ABA Legal EdFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Wall Street Journal Law Blog, ABA to Consider Change to Bar-Passage Rule for Law Schools:

Law schools may soon have to do a better job at proving they actually prepare students for the practice of law.

At a meeting next week in Phoenix, the ABA's accrediting arm will consider changing a bar passage rate rule schools must follow to stay accredited. The change would require 75% of a law school’s graduates who sit for a bar exam to pass the test within two years.

The ABA already essentially aims for the 75% mark, but the current rules offer a convoluted web of possible loopholes. They also give schools five years to meet the mark, and emphasize first-time test taker results in addition to the overall success rate.

The tweak, proposed by a committee that evaluates changes to law school accrediting standards, would eliminate more than 700 words of explanation from the rule, leaving a single sentence. ...

Also at next week’s meeting, accreditors will consider eliminating a requirement that law schools must use an admissions test for incoming students. Such a change would alleviate some of the angst in the law school community over University of Arizona College of Law’s recent decision to accept the GRE as well as the LSAT.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

Legal Education | Permalink


You fellers or ladies are not thinking like a high faluten counselor at law like me. It's simple, really. The no name Phoenix Cooleys of the world will simply pressure Bar Examiners to lower the passing scores.

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Mar 8, 2016 9:00:08 PM

I am beginning to favor abolishing any admissions criteria other than a 4 year college degree. Just get it over already. The lobby from the schools is too strong, and they are too desperate. Hell, you can even succeed in abolishing the bar exam.

The result is that everyone will focus on debt levels and employment results. So, basically, you can run but you can't hide.

Posted by: JM | Mar 7, 2016 10:57:33 AM

The ABA wants to lead the profession down apparently strange paths. Eliminating the LSAT will mean less qualified students get in. Demanding that law school get 75% to pass their bar exams within two years requires more qualified students not less.

That is, unless the ABA's goal is counter the current glut of lawyers by reducing the number of law schools, turning out fewer graduates, and ensuring that the lawyers who remain make more money.

The ABA wouldn't be thinking in such grossly mercenary terms would they?

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Mar 7, 2016 6:12:54 AM

Eliminate the LSAT? I'm not a huge fan, but it is nicely predictive and given the race to the bottom ongoing in the schools, I fail to see what good it serves to toss the test. Very shortsighted proposal from the worst offending law schools.

I bet Dan Bernstein wishes he could pull his press release on the LSAT's predictive ability. It has been shown by ncbe to be correlated, making his comment wrong. His comments will be used by scam level schools to ditch the LSAT. Shooting yourself in the foot is embarrassing enough. LSAC just shot itself in the head.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 7, 2016 5:41:48 AM