Paul L. Caron
Dean




Wednesday, November 25, 2020

ABA Permits Law Schools To Use Pandemic As Excuse For Failing 75% Within 2 Years Bar Passage Accreditation Standard

At its meeting last Friday, the Council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved the following accreditation standard changes:

ABA Logo (2016)Law schools are normally required to submit their annual Bar Passage Questionnaires each February. Publication of certain information from the Bar Passage Questionnaires is published a few weeks after the deadline. The 2021 Bar Passage Questionnaire is due in February 2021, but changes in the timing and format of many July 2020 Bar Exams, expanded diploma privilege, and limits on the number of graduates who could sit for the bar exam in certain states, as well as the impacts of COVID-19 and recent racial reckonings on minority groups, required the Committee to consider changes in law school reporting for the 2021 Bar Passage Questionnaire. As such, the Committee makes the following recommendations to the Council.

  1. Law Schools will complete the 2021 Bar Passage Questionnaire in the same manner they have done so for the last several years. There will be two main changes
    a. Law schools must specifically report the number of graduates admitted to practice via diploma privilege.
    b. There will be two bar passage rates reported. One will include just those graduates who took the bar exam and the other will include graduates who took the bar exam plus those that were admitted via diploma privilege.
  2.  Standard 316 will not be suspended.
    a. A Law School that believes certain circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively impacted opportunities for its graduates to sit for the bar exam or its compliance with Standard 316’s two-year bar passage rate will be permitted to share specific information with the Council for the Council’s consideration in determining compliance.
  3. The Managing Director’s Office will have discretion to move the Bar Passage Questionnaire deadline from February to April if the timing of the publication of bar exam results from various states makes it challenging for law schools to collect and accurately report bar passage information by the normal February deadline.4
  4. The Committee also recommends the Council approve the attached Bar Passage
    Questionnaire. This questionnaire incorporates Recommendation #1, and
    Recommendations #2 and #3 can be communicated to law schools by the Managing
    Director’s Office. 

The Council also approved several changes to the teach-out plans of law schools placed on probation:

ABA Journal, Pandemic Problems May Be Defense For Law Schools Not Meeting Bar Passage Standard

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2020/11/aba-permits-law-schools-to-use-pandemic-as-excuse-for-failing-75-within-2-years-bar-passage-accredit.html

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