Patterico's Pontifications


ABA Accreditation will Require 75% Bar Passage Rate

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 12:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via the Instapundit, TaxProf Blog reports that the ABA will impose a 75% bar passage requirement for law school accreditation standards:

“Interesting article in next week’s National Law Journal: ABA May Tighten Rule on Bar Exam Performance; Controversial Move Has Drawn Sharp Criticism From Minority Groups, by Leigh Jones:

Amid pressure from the U.S. Department of Education, the ABA is poised to tighten a rule that requires law schools to show that they are graduating students who can pass the bar exam.

The ABA is expected to approve the controversial measure at its meeting in Los Angeles from Feb. 6 through Feb. 12, when its House of Delegates will consider a recommendation from the ABA’s legal education section.

The proposed change has drawn sharp criticism, especially from those representing minority law students’ interests. But it is one that the ABA hopes will appease the Education Department, which grants the ABA authority to accredit law schools. …

In general, the change would create a quantitative rule requiring law schools to demonstrate that 75% of their graduates passed the bar exam or to show that their pass rates were within a certain range compared with other law schools in the same jurisdiction. …

Under the current rule, the ABA does not require law schools to demonstrate a specific pass rate, but instead to show in general that they are preparing students for admission to the bar and maintaining a rigorous academic program.”

Like undergraduate admissions, the details of law school admissions are closely guarded secrets. However, this change may make the LSAT even more important in law school admissions since studies have shown a correlation between LSAT scores and bar passage rates. (See this study and the studies noted on page 2, footnote 6.) That would almost certainly have an adverse impact on minority admissions.


13 Responses to “ABA Accreditation will Require 75% Bar Passage Rate”

  1. “within a certain range compared with other law schools in the jurisdiction”?

    What will that mean in practice?

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  2. What will that mean in practice?

    Schools in CA and NY–where the bar passage rate is usually (IIRC) in the 45-60% range–will be probably be compared against each other and the state rate, not the 75% mark. Presumably in the states where the bar passage rate is 80% and up, 75% passage rate might not cut it.

    M. Scott Eiland (b66190)

  3. There are states with 80% passage rates???

    They must really be desperate for lawyers there. Can’t imagine why.

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  4. The pass rates really vary from state-to-state. For instance, here are last year’s Texas Bar Exam pass rates:

    BAYLOR 97.85%
    ST. MARY’S 86.57%
    SOUTH TEXAS 91.12%
    S.M.U. 92.44%
    TEXAS TECH 91.01%
    T.S.U. 65.32%
    T.W.U. 91.14%
    U OF HOUSTON 91.83%
    U OF TEXAS 89.55%

    DRJ (517d26)

  5. Here’s California’s numbers for ABA Accredited Schools in the last bar exam (7/07) (n.b., CA does not require graduation from an ABA accredited school as a prerequisite to taking the bar):

    California Western School of Law 71%
    Chapman University School of Law 72%
    Golden Gate University School of Law 68%
    Loyola Law School-Los Angeles 78%
    McGeorge School of Law 73%
    Pepperdine University School of Law 78%
    Santa Clara University School of Law 76%
    Southwestern University School of Law 64%
    Stanford Law School 95%
    Thomas Jefferson School of Law 56%
    University of California – Berkeley 82%
    University of California – Davis 84%
    University of California –Hastings College of The Law 81%
    University of California–Los Angeles 86%
    University of La Verne College of Law 57%
    University of San Diego School of Law 80%
    University of San Francisco School of Law 85%
    University of Southern California The Law School 89%
    Western State University College of Law 48%
    Whittier Law School 54%

    JayHub (0a6237)

  6. There’s been a fair amount of chest-beating at my school about it’s surprisingly high numbers; in previous years it wass down around 73%.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  7. On topic, there is an international Project Management certification held by over 100,000 people, called the ‘PMP’. The pass rate was lowered to 61% (from a previous minimum 70% correct score). The pass rate skewed toward white males, and now is more ‘inclusive’. Of course, now there are people earning the PMP (including dumb white males) that do not reflect well on the achievement. Unintended consequences.

    TimesDisliker (bf39e8)

  8. No problem. In order to “protect” minorities, the do gooders will just make the bar exam easier.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  9. Cool, my alma mater is at 78% pass rate.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  10. Mine is third from the bottom or, put another way, 7th from the top.

    DRJ (517d26)

  11. In the “new” America of today, whatever exam you need to take will be skewed for the dumb. Then everyone gets their panties in a bunch because so much “bad” stuff happens in industries. Heh!

    Sue (297d07)

  12. Its time to reign in their greedy lawyers we dont need their crazy ideas

    krazy kagu (0c7fb2)

  13. What do you mean to protect “minorities” the bar will be made easier? I am an African-American Harvard Law Grad. I passed the NY Bar on my 1st attempt. I’m surprised you passed any bar as illogical and ignorant as your statement was.

    BA Amherst
    MA Columbia
    JD Harvard

    Dave (56a0a8)

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