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. Where I live there are so many lawyers that many are trying to become judges because it’s so tough to make it in private practice.

  2. If the Democrats suceed in their mission of complete dismantlement of The Constitution and The Rule of Law, Law School and practicing law will pretty much be things of the past.
    Since there will be no Rights to defend and an extremely streamlined two tier justice system
    will be in place, the only 2 things a lawyer will need to know are:
    1. Non-Democrat = Guilty.
    2. Democrat = No…….Oh wait, make that a one tier justice system.
    I forgot that absolutely NO laws apply to Democrats.

    1. So what protections are in place currently (for the public) regarding new grads? Do they have to intern? Do anything aside from be let loose on the public to foment discord? Why is only $$$$$$$$ the issues impetus? Blame Dems all you want, this is simple greed and the inculcation of the same in the so called ‘system’ of Education…

      1. New Grads are required to pass the bar exam before they are allowed to practice law, just having a degree does not make you an attorney. That’s the whole point of the article. Many schools are not preparing the students to pass the exam (or by extension to actually practice law) although the students are piling up huge amounts of debt to acquire a degree they can not use.

        1. SierraRose, that they are being underserved is obvious but that is just about anyone in higher education trying to learn the necessaries for a career. My take is that Lawyers can wreck lives just like new MD’s can, why then has the Profession not stepped up it’s oversight to ensure that these new grads and new Bar Grads have to Intern for at least a year under the auspices of someone who can show them PRACTICAL lawyering and give them something less nebulous than idealistic book training and Billing:101???

  3. Latte4Dims wrote “George, you seem to be suggesting that ….Are you sure that those suggestions are “coherent,” George?”

    You could try and be original and engage peoples points via counterpoints instead of succumbing to Saul Alinsky tactics

    “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
    “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.”
    “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”
    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

    Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals

    So how about it, L4D? follow JT’s leads and use scholastic thinking to further your own original arguments

    1. Alinksy along with George Lackoff who wrote Don’t See The Elephant have yet to practice any original arguments.

      Everything is plagiarized from various manifestos based on incorrect understanding of work stemming back to Plato and friends. It’s a repetition of The Party Line or Party Truth. First numb their minds then reprogram. Didn’t start with Plato though. He rejected his own ‘perfect government’ with the observation or truth that his fellow citizens would never give that much freedom and indepence.

      But by the follow on who disregarded Platos final rejection.

      We see the results of the non thinkers and illiterate uneducated even in blogs like this one. Without a thought to accuracy or reality or understanding the ‘nature of’

      But a step up from the main stream media and the lame stream media – unable to so much as write a headline or leader. But somehow can get elected even when inability to qualify is considered.

      To one degree or another the not found in the Constitution party system has failed. And the self governing citizen as the well spring of divine rule has failed to emerge and for that you may thank a very few sources. Schools, Media, polticians and the individuals who elect them.

      You get what you ask for.

      Still.. the are not the majority as 2016 proved.


  5. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing deal. The ABA could institute alternative requirements. For example, fluff courses such as Queer Law, Minorities and the Law, etc., should be limited to students with a 3.0 GPA or higher. These are essentially sociology courses and will not help struggling students pass the bar. Students with GPAs of 3.0 or lower in core courses should be restricted to the basics; those courses deemed essential to passing the bar and becoming a competent practitioner. There are too many leftist law professors teaching niche seminars, and since they are considered easy courses, they appeal to struggling students. But in the end, these students are seriously shortchanged by a system which allows them to avoid the fundamental question of whether they have the preparation and discipline to acquire enough legal knowledge to pass a bar exam.

  6. Both the ABA and law schools need to recognize that there are fewer opportunities for graduates who are admitted to the bar. They also need to recognize that, in some areas of practice, licensed practitioners are currently competing with consultants who are not law school graduates and are not even licensed to practice law. There are numerous examples of this phenomenon. It’s time to look at the big picture.

  7. The ABA is a racket. RICO suits please.

    Here’s a suggestion:

    1. Shut down every law school in America. A general practice attorney of my acquaintance offers that law school curricula are designed to train appellate judges, who form but a tiny minority of the lawyers in this country.


    2. Establish new law schools largely staffed with clinical faculty. Features:

    a. A 48 credit program which could be completed in a calendar year. These would consist of core courses. Civil procedure, criminal procedure, conflict of laws, torts, evidence, substantive criminal law, real estate, commercial law, administrative law. No ___ & the Law courses of the sort Barack Obama used to teach.

    b. Specialized certificate programs whose duration would be anywhere from 3 weeks (0.6 credits) to a calendar year (48 credits). The clientele would be working lawyers, law-firm employees, employees of GC’s offices, bank employees, &c.

    c. A 36 credit (9 month) judge’s degree.


    3. Pre-law programs at baccalaureate-granting institutions. Features:

    a. A calendar year (48 credit) arts-and-sciences certificate. In descending order of time required Anglo-American history (with an emphasis on institutional development), philosophy, rhetoric, political theory, criminology, social psychology.

    b. A six-month (24 credit) business certificate. Accounting, finance, insurance, and real estate.


    4. A high school diploma or equivalency, and an adequate LSAT score would be sufficient pre-requisite for most of the certificate programs. For the basic law degree, the two pre-law certificates would suffice. For the judges’ degree and the most demanding certificate programs, a basic law degree and a bar admission would suffice. No baccalaureate degree would be required to enter law schools.

    5. Permission to take the bar exam cold, with no formal educational pre-requisites.

    6. Supervision of law reviews by law faculty

    7. Assigning the function of offering research degrees in law to the graduate divisions of university political science departments.

    8. Establishing a global ration of berths in state-run professional schools. Aspirants would be awarded a claim on a voucher through examination results. The claim could be exercised by the payment of a recipient’s fee to the general state treasury. The fee would be scaled to the sum of years in which the applicant had filed state tax returns or his parents had (during his nonage) filed state tax returns. For a 25 year old applicant with no history in the state, the fee would be equal to the redemption value of the voucher; for such an applicant with 8 years worth of returns under his belt, the fee might be 1/2 the redemption value; for such an applicant with 16 returns under his belt, the fee might be $0. The school would take the voucher and present it for redemption to a dedicated state fund, and inflict no other charges on the aspirant. The dedicated state fund would be financed with a simple income levy which would be fixed by law, so the share of the state’s sum of personal income devoted to public provision of professional schooling would not change.

    9. Ending any sort of public subsidy for private professional schools. Loans to attend such schools would be originated by banks and finance companies at market rates, and they’d receive little special consideration in bankruptcy court. Let’s have some serious underwriting, baby, and you’ll have fewer marginal students in law school.

    10. Put the government of public and private law schools in the hands of trusteeships elected by alumni registered to vote in the state in question. The state board of elections could conduct these ballots by post and supervise a candidate-registration procedure consisting of a pecuniary deposit. Consider having law-schools as stand-alone institutions which contract with colleges and universities which host them.

  8. However, the proposal was rejected because it was viewed as ‘unfair to institutions that serve minority students,” according to Inside Higher Education.

    Well if your institution is serving up a degree program at $90k in student debt that does not translate into a law license, then the only reliable thing you’re serving up is debt.

    1. Olly,…
      On a somewhat related issue….the NEA does not seem to be active beyond the K-12 level.
      But one of their themes– opposition to standardized testing– could be taken up and applied to standardized tests like the bar exam.
      Talking points could be that we don’t want to see law school professors “teaching the test”😒, or that the bar exams are “culturally biased”, etc.
      Required standardized testing seems to have been given a pass when it comes to certifying lawyers, doctors etc. as competent and knowledgeable enough to enter those professional fields.
      IMO, we could take many of those well known objections we frequently hear about K-12 standardized tests and apply them to an organized effort to completely do away the bar exam.😉

      1. One of Stephen Covey’s 7 habits is to begin with the end in mind. So what skills and abilities should society expect from someone practicing law?

        On another note, why don’t we have credentialing, exams and licensing for the very people elected to public office to write laws that regulate nearly everything. Same question but for those with the privilege of voting for them.

      2. Serving the;students with social diplomas is hardly a worthy expenditure of public funds. When the honor rolls gets to nearly half the student population we found in our community service club the academic ability was limited to the same top 5 to 8 percentile once checked for fluff courses.

        We finally required a written, written, application statement “Why I deserve a scholarship.” The applications dropped in half but most of those submitted were written by teachers using boiler plate. That changed when hand written was required to the same top five percent. So we added an oral presentation. that did the trick! I recall twice we awarded a second year scholarship for two students who asked for the ‘privilege’ of presenting a debate to win the one single prize. In the end we doubled the amount.

        Scholarships were meant for the top students not based on ‘need’ but on ability. The others were not short changed as student loans became available from the ‘feds’ although only 20 percent or so of the sudden influx went on t graduate.

        Money raised by such clubs as Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis and others represents a lot of effort and time spent away from families. Money raised by politicians as a tax require no effort at all unless you count the work of the tax payers.

        But the fed system can be showed to have worked to their standards. Now we get unqualified politicians who are incapable of fulfilling their oath of office. and out of over 2,000 college university level institutions all but two are under the thumb of Department of Education by NOT taking any federal funds. Not even GI Bill funds from veterans? No. But they have an active scholarshop program to replace that source. Thus preserving their moral and ethical standards.

  9. Mueller has not released any evidence that Trump is behind all this mess with this law school stuff. Look at the Clintons.

  10. In some States there is no requirement to attend Law School.One studies and takes the State Exam. So I don’t see a problem here for all students except one caveat. If they take the test over a certain amount of time and additional test to cover changes in law from the time graduated to day of test should be added to the basic test. Students or self achievers still face the same examinations from the State regardless of preparation time or method or of original instruction. Pay the fee take the test. California for example had this arrangement some years ago. The test is the great equalizer. Just add in the supplementary tests for the years since attending school.

  11. The refusal to require rational standards doesn’t help anyone except those who profit from this massive student loans.

    1. Ahh yes, now we come to the real reason.
      Be careful. Don’t go there. That area has an electrified wall around it.

  12. There’s a simple answer to largely stop students from spending about $100,000, and 3 years of their lives, only to find themselves unable to practice law.

    Giving lessons while knowing that they are very unlikely to help a student earn a living – whether it’s singing lessons with the implied promise of making the student a star, or law lessons with the expectation that a student will be able to become a lawyer – is arguably an unfair and deceptive trade practice

    A simple cure would be for the ABA to require law schools to provide applicants who have weak credentials accurate information about their chances of being able to pass the bar; information the schools already have, which is based primarily upon the student’s LSAT and GPA scores.

    Also, to be fair to those who might just want to buck the odds and take a chance, and provide them with an opportunity to prove themselves despite the poor odds of success, students with weak credentials should be admitted subject to passing a bar-simulation exam at the end of their first year – an exam which would predict far more accurately if they have overcome the odds, and now have a reasonable chance of actually becoming a lawyer.

    Only students who passed such an exam – which law schools might wish to give to all students, even those with high LSAT and GPA scores – would be allowed to continue on to their second and third years.

    In this way, only the small percentage of students who through hard work, or otherwise, have proven themselves capable of probably being about to become lawyers will spend 3-years tuition.

    The others – those shown by their first year exam to have little chance of passing the bar – will at least save most of what they would otherwise have spent on tuition, and will not waste 2 or more additional years studying in hopes of joining a profession they are unlikely to be admitted to.

    1. Better yet. Require Law Schools to refund tuition and expenses to students who do not pass the bar exam within two years after graduation. This will cause the law schools to carefully screen entering students and also improve teaching. They will have skin in the game.

      1. Good idea Victor to bring back responsibility to the education system, however, your plan puts the onus on the school and absolves the students from responsibility for themselves and their actions and sends the same message as trophy participation degrees do. Just show up, get counted for the stats and your in. There should be reality based collaboration, with the school educating students how to succeed in achieving their educational goals, providing them with tools and incentivizing them do so. Since Colleges and Universities have for the most part morphed into little more than indoctrination camps that reward perfect recitation of the platform narrative and unquestioning allegiance to it’s values, correcting that and returning students to a state of being inquisitive free thinking individuals eager to explore the vast realm of knowledge and learn to apply that knowledge, will take something that will motivate them.
        There’s an old proverb that says
        “Those that DO NOT respect wisdom,
        DO respect pain.”
        That’s why I propose:
        The Value Added Tuition (TVAT)
        In keeping with current Affirmative Action laws The Value Added Tuition would have only one exception.*
        The Value Added Tuition would be an incentive driven program based on a reverse Value Added Tax Style System linking students GPA performance directly to the cost of their education.
        It works like this.
        Say the tuition for a graduate degree is $150,000
        For Valedictorian – The cost is Free
        Summa Cum Laude – $4500
        Magna Cum Laude -$15,000
        Cum Laude – $37,500
        A – $50,000
        B – Half price, 75 Grand
        C- $125,000 Still worth it because there’s always Civil Service, Public Defenders Office and Social Services.
        D – The whole shebang loser. $150,000 for wasting the school’s time and resources and keeping a potential Valedictorian out of the queue.
        *Fail – The Affirmative Action Value Added Tuition Exception.
        The school gives you $150,000, a degree and a job offer from one of the Highest rated Law Firms in the Country where you spend your career overseeing spell check, grammar check and the Keurig Station while keeping the supply of blue backs organized in alphabetical order.

      2. Actually I understand some Ivy League Law Schools subsidize law firms to hire some of their students to make the school look better.

    2. Sir, the number of people who earn JD and LLB degrees exceeds the number of entrants necessary to staff the legal profession by a factor of 1.5. Need to lance that carbuncle and squeeze the pus out.

      1. DSS, a lot of lawyers use their law school skills outside of the practice of law.

        The average attorney isn’t that smart, but the exceptional ones are.

        1. I don’t think the ones who fail to build a career in law are the talented ones, by and large.

          1. I can’t provide any statistics as there are a lot of failures, but I know a good deal of lawyers that never practiced law. One of them had a billion dollar company with 100% ownership ~30 years ago. He never practiced law.To many smart ones law is just an extension of their education. I don’t know how talented the average lawyer is. I have met a lot of turkey’s with fancy offices in prime locations.

  13. The solution to this little problem is obvious. Just rescind both policies. Hell, make it really easy. Just abolish the ABA completely and adopt the Democrat open border policy at all Law Schools. If you want to be a Lawyer just waltz over to your nearest institution of higher learning and pick up your sheepskin. No classes necessary. Of course if your life’s goal is something truly lofty like a seat on the Supreme Court, you may want to consider showing up to class sober occasionally and maybe join the swim team, but even that is optional in all inclusive Diversity World where magically, everyone is exactly the same at all times, have exactly the same abilities and are fully competent in everything because the Rule of Diversity says they are. Come to think of it, open border education with little or no proficiency should be how ALL advanced degrees are confered. It will empower with self esteem and pride those who need to feel good about themselves and validate their value as a person. It will also teach those who fully expect to live long happy life completely free of consequences, responsibility, worry, struggle, hard work or accomplishment and want an easy in to the top, that if you just aggressively b!tch, demand, protest, accuse or cry racism enough, others will roll over and help you make your fondest dreams come true regardless of how much education must be excoriated, corrupted or dumbed down. Screw standards and compentency. As long as the goal of providing a warm fuzzy environment in which to learn how to be a self absorbed little black star, freely roaming through society shining no light upon it and acting out with complete disregard for the social impact, consequences or rights of others a life that is the antithesis of real life is reached, then higher education has done it’s job. I mean really, for the sake of preserving the diversity narrative, who wouldn’t want an alcoholic heart surgeon with a hard partying frat boy mentality who made D’s and was in the lower 1% of his class? Or a pilot who has to check the Flying For Dummies app on her phone to get the 747 in the air or open the cargo hold door? As long as everybody is included, validated and feels good enough about themselves to live out their dream by whatever means necessary, then everything will turn out fine.

  14. ‘The question is the fairness to those students who go into debt but cannot secure passage after two years.’ This statement is a good example of regulatory capture – placing the interests of the regulated ahead of the public interest.

    The real question is one of the fairness to those clients who hire attorneys with marginal legal skills.

  15. We need strict and tough bar exam standards. Bar all those from practicing law who cannot speak English, who cannot write sentences, who know nuthing about birthin babies.


    When President Obama instructed his Education Department to tighten standards on For-Profit Colleges, Republicans pushed back with disingenuous arguments that somehow For-Profit were more democratic than elitist universities.

    Never mind that the For Profits had low rates of graduation and job placement. Never mind that they had high rates of student loan defaults. The fact that they sought to make a profit was good for free-enterprise. Never mind that their profits came from government-backed loans.

    When Betsy DeVos took over the Education Department, she actually made a point of hiring key deputies from the For-Profit College industry. And they colluded to dismantle Obama’s regulations. So For-Profit Colleges can regain their rightful place as beneficiaries of government-backed student loans.

    1. Correct-the-Record employee runs a look-squirrel script to distract attention from the bad behavior of a Democratic Party client-group.

      1. David Brock still feels guilty about smearing Anita Hill so as long as George Soros keeps funding his trolls, his trolls will run look-squirrel scripts until the inevitable: squirrels get displaced up Brock’s a**

        “David Brock, the seasoned liberal operative and Clinton loyalist who founded Media Matters, huddled with more than 100 donors last weekend at the swanky Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura, Fla. to map out how Democrats will “kick Donald Trump’s ass.”

        The Washington Free Beacon attended the retreat and obtained David Brock’s private and confidential memorandum from the meeting. The memo, “Democracy Matters: Strategic Plan for Action,” outlines Brock’s four-year agenda to attack Trump and Republicans using Media Matters, American Bridge, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and Shareblue.”


        Full David Brock Confidential Memo On Fighting Trump

        1. Estovir, how do your comments relate to Professor Turley’s column..??

          I mean here you accuse me of being a paid commenter when I’m actually sticking to the subject at hand. But you’re only bringing up vague, paranoid nonsense and pretending to have no agenda.

          A subjective visitor to this site could easily mistake you for a Russian troll. Which you could easily be. It’s just paranoid, over-the-top clap-trap presented as ‘vigilant scrutiny’.

          1. Peter Shill: “A subjective visitor to this site could easily mistake you for a Russian troll”

            So today I am a Russian. Yesterday you hyperventilated about me being a old fart right wing Catholic. So does this mean Ive moved up to being an Orthodox Russian or a Russian Church in Exile faithful? Maybe a Taoist tomorrow?

            squirrels will be squirrels

            1. Estovir, a Catholic old fart could easily be a useful idiot to Russian trolls. Look at Trump. He may not be Catholic but he’s an old fart and useful idiot to Putin.

              1. Trump could be the poster boy for US Catholic Bishops… but I digress

                Estovir…or in your case, Peter Shill, butch it up dude(tte)!

        2. I’m remembering a Gail Sheehy article on Gary Hart where one person she interviewed had this to say, “To those who know Miami, the fact that he was at a sleazy place like Turnberry says almost as much about him as does Donna Rice”.

          Podesta’s remarks on Brock in the Wikileaks cache are amusing.

      2. Tabby, the subject here is education standards. That’s Professor Turley’s subject de jour. Perhaps you’re annoyed Professor Turley didn’t address other issues.

        1. that seems to be the latest David Brock talking point for his paid trolls. SMH

          How utterly vapid, jejune, insipid

          1. But Tabby, I’m not allowed to discuss it..?? That’s what you seem to imply. You seem to be saying that somehow because I’m liberal, I’m obliged to discuss Ralph Northam today. Like I can’t just respond to the Professor’s post.

            Regarding Northam, Trump posted a tweet today that made me laugh out loud. He dissed Ed Gillispie’s Opposition Research Team for missing the KKK photo. For once I agree with Trump! I can’t believe Republicans never dug that photo up before.

            1. Peter, actually at least one prominent conservative whose name you likely know and whose name has appeared on this blog actually got that photo but at the time he was too honorable to use it because he couldn’t prove it entirely. Quite a differernce from the Progressives who can use anonymous sources twice removed knowing what they publish to be a lie. Historically that is what Progressives and Nazi’s do. I assume baby killers do that as well. I see that you are trying to twist what the discussion is all about seemingly because you don’t object to infanticide.

            2. You weren’t discussing it. You were trying to divert attention to a discussion of commercial colleges.

            3. Maybe they just recently picked up on the ” yearbook mining” gig after a Senate confirmation hearing several months ago.

  17. When the ABA is speaking of “minorities,” they mean blacks and Hispanics. Asian students pass the bar at about the same rate as whites.

    1. “When the ABA is speaking of minorities….”

      these liberal groups are never inclusive of minorities only select individuals they cherry pick from minority groups to keep their cottage industry in business.

  18. “Affirmative Action Privilege” is unconstitutional and minorities should be embarrassed to participate in illegal schemes to steal money and status.

    People must adapt to the outcomes of Freedom.

    Freedom does not adapt to people…

    Dictatorship does.

    1. George, you seem to be suggesting that Freedom somehow subsists in, and of, itself, separately and apart from the people–any people, any person. Also, that Freedom has “outcomes” seems to suggest that Freedom is “an event”–such as a coin toss, for instance. Are you sure that those suggestions are “coherent,” George?

      1. You don’t want freedom.

        You want “free stuff.”

        You want other people’s property as money and jobs; assets and status.

        You persist ideologically in a covetocracy.

        You covet what other people have and irrationally claim it for yourself.

        Is that coherent?

        You should be arrested for robbery.

        1. “You should be arrested for robbery.”

          or at the very least carbon gas emissions from inane chatter contributing to global warming

        2. George exclaimed, “You don’t want freedom.”

          George, you did not say what you think Freedom is. And what you did say presupposes something else that most folks call Opportunity. You know, George, Opportunity is like The Painted Lady in the game of Three-Card Monte: Here today, gone tomorrow; now you see it, now you don’t; easy come (or not), easy go (or not).

          If somebody else [who know who] earns a job, money, property, assets or status, then does it necessarily follow that that person stole that stuff from George? Is everything a zero-sum game for you, George? What does it mean when you say, “People must adapt to the outcomes of Freedom?” Is it anything like the rule about “First come, first served?” And when did your remote ancestors wash ashore, anyhow, George?

          1. Freedom is what the American Founders obtained.

            Freedom and free enterprise under infinitesimal government which exists merely to facilitate that freedom.

            Freedom and Self-Reliance.

            Freedom from tyranny and oppression.

            Freedom of the individual from any and all forms of dictatorship.

            Freedom from interference by government in the affairs of individuals.

            Free enterprise and the “pursuit of happiness.”

            Freedom to start a business or take a job.

            You don’t want freedom because you are incapable of self-reliance.

            Your greatest fear is freedom which allows your failure.

            You don’t want freedom.

            You want “free stuff.”

            You want welfare.

            You want “Affirmative Action Privilege.”

            You want other people’s property as money and jobs; assets and status.

            You persist ideologically in a covetocracy.

            You covet what other people have and irrationally claim it for yourself.

            Is that coherent?

            You should be arrested for robbery.

            All that you demand is unconstitutional.

            Your demands are the principles of the Communist Manifesto.

Comments are closed.