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American Bar Association locks in date for decision on new bar passage rules


By Kathryn Higgins

26 January 2017 at 11:32 BST


US law school deans will go head-to-head with the ABA over plans to withdraw ABA-accreditation from law schools whose students can't pass the bar exam within two years.

HONGQI ZHANG

On 6 February, the ABA will officially table a proposal that would require at least 75 per cent of students at ABA-accredited law schools to pass the bar exam within two years. While plummeting pass rates have raised alarm bells at the ABA about the standard of legal education being received by fee-paying law students around the country, school deans are concerned that the new rules could threaten the viability of many law schools and limit overall access to legal education. A letter from 94 law deans sent to the ABA earlier this month cited spiraling pass rates in California, where only 43 per cent of law graduates who sat the bar exam managed to pass last year: ‘The California bar results, if they become the 'new normal' for graduates of ABA-accredited law schools in California, could potentially imperil the accreditation of a very large number of law schools — law schools whose history and profile have demonstrated over many decades an ability to educate successful law students by any reasonable measure,’ the letter reads.

Current rules require at least 75 per cent of graduates to pass the bar exam during three or more of the past five years, or that the pass rate of first-time sitter be no more than 15 per cent below the statewide average for three of the last five years. The ABA House of Delegates will discuss the updated standards at its mid-year meeting on 6 February.

Source: National Law Journal

 
   
 
 
 

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