Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: California to tighten bar admission rules?  (Read 4278 times)

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
California to tighten bar admission rules?
« on: December 28, 2012, 02:02:04 AM »
According to Calbar's website, the state bar's Task Force on Admission Regulation and Reform will meet in January to discuss, among other things, whether admission to the California bar should be limited to ABA and CBE graduates.

Such a restriction could have significant consequences. California is one of only a handful of states that allows non-ABA grads to sit for the bar, and has traditionally been the jurisdiction of choice for graduates of unaccredited law schools. The concern seems to be the very low pass rates (often in the single digits), and the ethical issue of allowing a school to take tuition from students who have such a statistically low chance of passing.

I assume that the Task Force would issue some kind of report or recommendation, which would then be considered by the bar. As far as I'm aware there is no real movement among the legal community to so limit admission, but it probably wouldn't be opposed either. Interesting, we'll see what happens. 

jennid1234

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: California to tighten bar admission rules?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 07:26:01 PM »
Statistics on the last bar exam in Jun 2012 state the passage rate percentage for CA Accredited was 31% for first time takers, repeaters 10% and all takers 19%.  For all takers in the unaccredited category - 15%, not much difference between CA Accredited and the Unaccredited and the repeaters for unaccredited was 12% HIGHER than the accredited 10%.  Feb 2012 - first time takers - same percentage 33% in both categories.  I don't know seems to me the CA ABA pass rate not anything to boast about either at 68% and 53% on the same respective tests.  Tightening standards will mean what? No more distance learning or correspondence schools?  We shall see.


jennid1234

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: California to tighten bar admission rules?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 07:41:01 PM »
This is a piece of history where the total bar passage rate was below 50%.  Check out the news article from 1984

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=lcw8AAAAIBAJ&sjid=Xi4MAAAAIBAJ&pg=5214,3946924&dq=california+state+bar+unaccredited+schools&hl=en


Groundhog

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 3971
    • View Profile
Re: California to tighten bar admission rules?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 08:26:05 PM »
Probably wouldn't hurt to restrict the number of licensed attorneys in some way—either through lowering bar passage rates, eliminating unaccredited schools, or figuring out some way to decrease class size(likely the toughest).

Of course, I say this after being admitted.

livinglegend

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
    • View Profile
    • legalmatch
Re: California to tighten bar admission rules?
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 08:45:32 PM »
Good point Groundhog after being admitted don't particularly care how tight they make the admission rules for others kind of selfish, but the way it is. 

Philosphically I think if someone can meet all the standards for admission to the bar they should be able to practice law, but selfishly I am more than open to less competition for jobs.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: California to tighten bar admission rules?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 09:46:22 PM »
I really have mixed feelings on this topic. As Livinglegend said, I tend to think that if someone has met the moral character requirements and can pass the bar exam, why not admit them? Much of the opposition to unaccredited schools is simply based on snobbery.

On the other hand...

The statistics don't lie. Several unaccredited schools posted bar pass rates for July 2012 that were zero. Others were in the single digits, and a few were in the 25% range. Keep in mind, that's after a significant number of underperformers have already been weeded out by the FYLSE. These schools are unaccredited for a reason, and it's because they haven't met either the CBE or ABA standards.

FYLSE and bar pass rates that are so low indicate that either 1) the school's admission standards are insufficient, 2) the academic program is not rigorous enough, or 3) both. I suspect it's the last one. There is an issue of consumer protection to be addressed here, too. If a school has either a low single digit or zero bar pass rate, and has had that rate for a while, should they be permitted to take people's money by claiming to offer a quality legal education? I'm not really a fan of the "nanny state" mentality either, however. Thus my mixed feelings.

Statistics on the last bar exam in Jun 2012 state the passage rate percentage for CA Accredited was 31% for first time takers, repeaters 10% and all takers 19%.  For all takers in the unaccredited category - 15%, not much difference between CA Accredited and the Unaccredited and the repeaters for unaccredited was 12% HIGHER than the accredited 10%.

California ABA schools averaged a 77% first time pass rate this last July, 31% for CBE accredited. Even the lowest performing California ABA school (Thomas Jefferson) was 52%, not bad at all considering the difficulty of the CA bar.  If you look at the CBE schools, they tend to vary quite a bit more than the ABA schools. Some were 0% passing, others were around 50% or higher, but the numbers of takers tend to be much smaller than ABA schools.

A few unaccredited schools acheived decent pass rates, but again, the numbers of takers tended to be very small. San Luis Obispo posted a 67% pass rate, but only three people took the exam. Concord and Taft seem to be the most consistent performers, and are often in the 25% range. These schools are the exceptions, however. Most of the unaccredited schools posted pass rates in the 0-20% range, with repeat takers scoring about the same. 

jonlevy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: California to tighten bar admission rules?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 10:43:05 PM »
What a bunch of silly comments from supposedly educated people.

Believe me the California bar has far more serious problems than non ABA law schools. Thank God Concord is in the mix, Washington Post Corporation has the lobbying muscle to stop yet another ABA power grab. This isn't about standards, it is about diveristy. Non ABA schools offer people who would not normally have a chance at being lawyers, a shot at the bar.  What is wrong with that? People who don't pass the bar don't factor into anything, so this is nothing but an attack on those who might pass the bar without the ABA imprimatur.

Maintain FL 350

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: California to tighten bar admission rules?
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 11:21:08 PM »
This isn't about standards, it is about diveristy. Non ABA schools offer people who would not normally have a chance at being lawyers, a shot at the bar.  What is wrong with that? People who don't pass the bar don't factor into anything, so this is nothing but an attack on those who might pass the bar without the ABA imprimatur.

I agree, and that's why I have mixed feelings on the subject. I think it's extremely important to offer alternative routes to bar admission for working adults. However, it's also important to have meaningful standards for legal education, since an attorney should possess knowledge beyond that which is required to pass the bar exam.

Here's my question Jon:
Aren't schools like Concord and Taft already providing that alternative route, along with decent bar pass rates? Both schools consistently post the highest pass rates, are accessible to working adults, and offer a real shot at bar admission. Other unaccredited schools, however, seem to be taking peoples' money without actually producing any lawyers. I think there's a distinction to be made, and I'd hate to see the baby thrown out with the bath water.

I think we'll probably see a compromise. Perhaps only registered unaccredited schools will qualify for bar admission, and some minimum bar pass rate will be required in order to gain "registered" status. Or perhaps CBE accreditation will be extended to distance learning schools, after all. 

As I've said before, the unaccredited schools are going to have to meet Calbar halfway. If a school is consistently posting bar and FYLSE pass rates in the 0-10% range year after year, it's legitimate to question the school's policies. That's not purely snobbery (although elitism plays an ugly role in this matter), it's also basic consumer protection.

It also appears that about four CBE schools posted 0% pass rates in July. If Calbar were to adopt bar pass rates as part of the CBE accreditation process (as I've heard they're considering), perhaps we'd see the number of CBE schools decrease, too.

     

jonlevy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: California to tighten bar admission rules?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2012, 10:28:34 AM »
All schools must already be registered with the state bar. The problem is that the bar does not accredit correspondence and online schools. A minimum pass rate is unfair if a school has only 3 people taking the bar. The enrollments here are so small that it should not matter.  Also what about law office study?

The whole thing is a red herring by the ABA. They want to occupy the field in online schools because even those dinosaurs see the writing on the wall for overpriced law schools with over paid faculty.

As for knowledge beyond passing the bar, that is called a "training contract" in England but the ABA will never adopt that one, trust me.

Haman03

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: California to tighten bar admission rules?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2013, 03:06:34 AM »
Minimum two years approved college work by passage of designated examinations.