ABA Rejects Proposal To Require Minimum Bar Passage Rate For Accreditation

The American Bar Association has been trying to crack down on schools that allow students to rack up huge debt but show low bar passage or employment rates. At the same time, the ABA has fought for greater diversity in the bar. Those two policies collided this week over a proposal to require at least 75 percent of law students at accredited schools to pass the bar exam no later than two years after their graduations. That would seem a modest and reasonable condition. However, the proposal was rejected because it was viewed as ‘unfair to institutions that serve minority students,” according to Inside Higher Education.

In a letter to the ABA, advocates argued against the policy as unfair to minority students and historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). They noted that “the potential number of schools that may fail to satisfy proposed Standard 316 in both 2016 and 2017 could include five of the six HBCUs,11 all three of the Puerto Rican schools, and 11 of the 21 California schools.”

The problem is that some of these schools have passage rates near or below 50 percent. The question is the fairness to those students who go into debt but cannot secure passage after two years.

The average cost of legal education law schools leaves $90,217 in debt, according to 2017 data.

We have previously discussed the efforts to deal with law schools with subpar passage rates. Some of those schools also have the highest levels of debt for students. The supporters of the ABA measure argued that the most direct way to combatting such low passage, high debt schools would be to impose a minimum passage rate as a condition for accreditation.

The ABA House of Delegates rejected the proposal lost, 88-334.

61 thoughts on “ABA Rejects Proposal To Require Minimum Bar Passage Rate For Accreditation”

  1. “the proposal was rejected because it was viewed as ‘unfair to institutions that serve minority students,”

    Euphemism alert: for “serve” read “defraud.”

    The issue is not what’s unfair to institutions that serve minority students, but what’s unfair to minority students themselves. If the ABA doesn’t want to yank the accreditation of under-performing schools, perhaps the Federal government should refuse to guarantee student loans for students enrolled in these schools. The students wouldn’t enroll and the schools would instantly collapse. There are too many lawyers in the US anyway. Particularly in the low end of the profession.

    1. “The issue is not what’s unfair to institutions that serve minority students, but what’s unfair to minority students themselves.”
      …and those that they will then serve…….

    2. All law schools, from the top to the bottom, practice Affirmative Action. Thus the minorities in Ivy League law schools, if they were white and judged on objective criteria, would be enrolled in lower ranked, average law schools. And minorities in average law schools would be in low-ranked law schools absent affirmative action. Finally, minorities in low-end law schools wouldn’t be in law school at all, absent racial preferences. So another alternative for the ABA to consider would be disallowing below average law schools from considering any factors in admission and retention beyond objective factors, i.e., grades and LSAT schools. That way, students with little to no chance of ever practicing law would not waste three years on a wild goose chase and end up with nothing but a lifetime of crushing debt.

  2. >>”Meanwhile, its top 340 executives were collectively granted a potential $25m in bonuses in December, just months after the firm declared bankruptcy.

    “It’s utterly ridiculous to me,” says Mr Miller, who is now relying on odd jobs to help pay bills. “How can you reward somebody for driving a business into the ground?”<<< https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46869091

    It's all just greed, no different than Sears….people whose mindset counter intelligence, in positions where they have power to effect the systems they parasitize. It is just assinine and the actual rweason why most hard working people know that Lawyers, like many business people, are dangerously full of Sh*t.

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