Monday, February 04, 2008

Law Schools in Jeopardy of Failing ABA's New 75% Bar Passage Accreditation Standard

On Saturday, I blogged the ABA's expected approval, at its meeting this week in Los Angeles, of a new objective bar passage standard for law school accreditation. Under proposed Interpretation 301-6, over a five-year period (1) 75% of a school's graduates must have passed the bar, or (2) the school's annual first-time bar passage rate in state(s) in which at least 70% of its graduates take the bar must not be more than 15 percentage points below the average first-time bar passage rate in that state(s) for at least three of the years.

The charts below use only a single year's data from to illustrate law schools that might be in danger of failing Interpretation 301-6's objective standard. Here are the seven schools under the 15% threshold based only on the single year's bar passage data from the Internet Legal Research Group from the July 2005 and February 2006 bar exams:


See TaxProf Blog for charts of the seven law schools that would have been within five percentage points, and the sixteen law schools that would have been within 5-10 percentage points, of the 15% threhold based only on the single year's data.

Update #1: Gary S. Rosin (South Texas) has an extended discussion in Reports and Comments on Proposed ABA Interpretation 301-6.

Update #2: In response to several commentators, I have corrected the post to make clear that (1) the 75% and 15% tests apply over five-year periods and are alternative means of satisfying the proposed new standard; and (2) the charts list only one year's worth of data from this site and thus identify schools close to the 75%/15% thresholds for that one year only.

Update #3: See this 2/8/08 post on the ABA's FAQ on proposed Interpretation 301-6. As I said there:

In my earlier post, I included tables listing law schools that were close to these 75%/15% thresholds in a one-year snapshot of data. As I explained in the post, and several commentators pointed out, proposed Interpretation 301-6 measures bar passage rates over a five-year period. Schools that fall below the 75%/15% thresholds in any one year thus can (and often do) easily meet Interpretation 301-6 when measured over the requisite five-year period, especially when the differences between bar passage rates for first-time and non-first-time test-takers are factored in (which they are not in the one-year data). And in any event schools that are out of compliance with the 75%/15% thresholds for the five-year period can obtain an extension upon a showing of good cause. I apologize to any schools that feel unfairly maligned by my prior post's use of the incomplete one-year data.

Update #4: In response to additional comments, I have updated the post to clarify that the Internet Legal Research Group data is from the July 2005 and February 2006 bar exams.


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