High Stakes MPRE

Does your school risk losing accreditation? A new ABA rule makes schools (and students) nervous!

The American Bar Association (ABA), the association which is responsible for accrediting law schools, has passed a new standard (Rule 316) that states the following:

At least 75 percent of a law school’s graduates who sat for a bar examination must have passed a bar examination administered within two years of their date of graduation.

The ABA calls this the Ultimate Bar Passage (UBP) rate. We like the “spirit” of the standard (we think that law schools should be held responsible if their students are not passing the bar exam at a high enough rate!). However, we also think that it will have unintended adverse effects. Regardless of what we think, it is the current standard — effective immediately as of 5/17/19– which means that law schools who do not have a 75% UBP rate risk losing accreditation.

This blog posted very interesting data about bar pass rates. We have copied two tables from the blog below.

Schools with UBP rates below 75% for 2015 AND 2016

These schools have posted UBP percentages below 75% for both 2015 and 2016 graduates. This means that unless they make serious changes, they are at true risk of losing accreditation. They need to have a UBP rate at or above 75%.

*Arizona Summit, Valparaiso, and Whittier no longer admit students

Schools with UBP rates below 75% for 2015 OR 2016

These schools have posted UBP percentages below 75% for either 2015 or 2016 graduates. This means that these schools have to make sure that they do not slip below this point in the future or they risk losing accreditation.

With the new standard, bar pass rates will have to be a primary focus for law schools. Particularly those who are at risk of not meeting the new ABA Standard.

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