Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
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:
- 90% Of Law Students Pass The Bar Within 2 Years Of Graduation, But 10% Of Law Schools Have Fail Rates > 25% (Mar. 23, 2018)
- ABA Legal Ed Council Sends 75% Within 2 Years Bar Passage Accreditation Standard Back To House of Delegates (Nov. 26, 2018)
- Eighteen Law Schools Would Fail ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Within 2 Years Accreditation Standard (Jan 26, 2019)
- 88.6% Of The Class Of 2016 Passed The Bar Within 2 Years Of Graduation, But 10% Of Law Schools Have Fail Rates > 25% (Apr. 20, 2019)
- ABA: Law Schools Will Lose Their Accreditation Unless 75% Of Their Graduates Pass The Bar Within Two Years, Beginning With The Class of 2017 (May 18, 2019)
- Law Professor Group Calls For Suspension Of ABA Accreditation Standard 316 Requiring 75% Bar Passage Within Two Years Due To COVID-19 (May 8, 2020)
- ABA: Ten Law Schools Are Out Of Compliance With 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement (May 29, 2020)
- ABA: Law Schools That Fail Two-Year 75% Bar Passage Standard Will Not Lose Accreditation If A Subsequent Class Meets The Standard (June 11, 2020)
- Law Professors Ask ABA To Shelve Bar Passage Accreditation Requirement During Pandemic (Aug. 14, 2020)