The Wall Street Journal has a nice article about how the ABA’s Office of the Managing Director of Accreditation and Legal Education is renewing its push to evaluate law school accreditation based largely on its graduates’ bar passage rates. The last time the ABA looked into this accreditation standard, it received significant push back that was largely based on how it could hurt law schools with highly diverse student bodies as well as those schools in states with tougher bar exams. (California with its bar passage rate south of 50% for the past five consecutive years immediately comes to mind.)
We’re skeptical of any attempt to base accreditation largely on bar passage rates for the same reasons it previously tanked. While we support the ABA’s efforts to raise bar passage rates and punish those schools with low bar passage rates, we believe the only workable solution will be a compromise that weighs other accreditation factors even if they are directly related to bar passage rates. A push to set the critical benchmark LSAT score to 150 would be one such option.