Thursday, March 10, 2016

ABA Cockroaches to Consider Change to Bar Passage Rules for Accredited Toilets

The News: On March 4, 2016, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog published a piece from Sarah Randazzo, under the headline “ABA to Consider Change to Bar-Passage Rules for Law Schools.” Enjoy the following portion:

“Law schools may soon have to do a better job at proving they actually prepare students for the practice of law. 

At a meeting next week in Phoenix, the American Bar Association’s accrediting arm will consider changing a bar passage rate rule schools must follow to stay accredited. 

The change would require 75% of a law school’s graduates who sit for a bar exam to pass the test within two years.

The ABA already essentially aims for the 75% mark, but the current rules offer a convoluted web of possible loopholes. They also give schools five years to meet the mark, and emphasize first-time test taker results in addition to the overall success rate. 

The tweak, proposed by a committee that evaluates changes to law school accrediting standards, would eliminate more than 700 words of explanation from the rule, leaving a single sentence. 

As the committee explains in its recommendation to the governing council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, “an ultimate pass rate is the more appropriate measure of whether a school is operating a sound program of legal education, and it is not subject to the idiosyncrasies that can be found with a reliance on the pass rate of first-time takers.” 

The current bar passage rate requirements haven’t given too many law schools trouble, and it’s not clear yet how much resistance there might be to the new proposed rule. 

Since 2000, Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco and Whittier Law School in Southern California were both put on probation for low bar passage rates, but later had the probation lifted. Two other California schools, Western State University College of Law and the University of La Verne College of Law, lost accreditation, in part because of bar passage issues. Western State is once again fully accredited while La Verne has provisional accreditation. 

As Law Blog readers know, bar exam passage rates have been falling nationwide, with some states reporting lower than 75% passage rates for first-time test takers. 

Also at next week’s meeting, accreditors will consider eliminating a requirement that law schools must use an admissions test for incoming students.” [Emphasis mine]

Re-read that last sentence. That item is actually going to help the law schools admit more idiots and dolts. Furthermore, these two measures are not congruent. How the hell can you allow ABA-accredited diploma mills to make it easier to admit students, but then also require that they improve their bar passage rates?!?! Look for the American Bar Association rodents to apply pressure on state bar examiners to lower their standards.

Prior Coverage: Back on February 11, 2016, the ABA Journal featured a Mark Hansen article entitled Tougher, simpler bar-passage requirements for law schools to be considered by ABA committee.” Check out this opening:

“An ABA committee on Friday will take up a proposal that would toughen—and greatly simplify—the bar passage requirements of the law school accreditation standards.

Under the proposal, a law school would have to demonstrate that 75 percent of its graduates who took a bar exam within two years of their graduation passed. 

Under the current standard, a law school can meet the bar pass requirement in one of two ways. It can show, as most schools do, that its first-time bar pass rate was no more than 15 points below the average bar pass rate for ABA-approved schools in states where its graduates took the exam. Or it can demonstrate, as some schools have resorted to doing, that 75 percent of its graduates who took a bar exam in three of the previous five years passed. 

The proposed new standard would eliminate the first option altogether. It would keep the 75 percent bar passage rate from the second option but reduce the time frame for demonstrating compliance from five to two years. It also would require schools to account for all of their graduates. Under the current standard, a school needs to account for only 70 percent of its graduates. 

The proposal would not relieve a school of its obligation to report and publish its first-time bar passage rates. But it would eliminate a loophole that now allows schools to exclude a group of test-takers known as “non-persisters”—graduates who fail a bar exam once and don’t take it again the next two times it is offered—from their calculations.” [Emphasis mine]

Even if this change occurs, the law school pigs will get an exception or find a loophole – such as “If we try to reach grads but are unable to do so, we cannot be expected to include them in our stats.” Those also happen to be the JDs who are embarrassed to report their low incomes. Plus, who will enforce this new rule and how often? Remember, the “educators” DO NOT GIVE ONE GODDAMN about the students and recent graduates. They only care about keeping the gravy train of federal student loan dollars rolling along.

Conclusion: The following facts are irrefutable. Collectively, ABA-accredited law schools KNOWINGLY and WILLINGLY lowered admi$$ion$ “standards,” over several years, in response to a shrinking pool of applicants. Bar passage rates continue to drop. Instead of looking at themselves, the academic swine blame their bar examiners for “making the licensing exam too hard.” The bitches and hags then still move ahead and push for using other tests which are easier, such as the GRE, in lieu of the LSAT. Now, the ABA parasites are considering increasing bar pass requirements for member schools.

I smell a rat, in this arrangement. This is the equivalent of asking a dumber person to practice less, and then simultaneously play several expert level chess players in timed rapid games, and obtain better results. This is unrealistic, unless there is something else at play, such as collusion or trickery. I suspect the ABA will discuss this measure, and then not pass the damn thing. In the alternative, they will permit several exceptions to the new rule, rendering it meaningless. Which is in line with what the ABA typically does on a daily basis.


  1. What a novel concept: linking accreditation of a professional school with its students' performance on that profession's professional licensing exam.
    Can you imagine, if only for 30 seconds, if this discussion were occurring in medicine or nursing?
    So yes, Nando, you're right to smell a rat. The outcome will be two-fold: law schools will be allowed to "adjust" their entrance requirements so that no standardized test is required, or that any test will do, up to and including your drivers license test at the local DMV.
    And yes, there is going to be enormous pressure placed on state bar examiners to make the bar exam easier to pass. As others have noted, even for the TTTs, there is a lot of local political juice ready to be used on their behalf.

    1. And the law skool's will make an exception to the driver's license test to the effect of 'if you can sit for a state issued picture ID at the DMV, we'll accept that in lieu of a drivers license.'

      Besides, it shows real effort to sit still for all of 5 seconds to have your photo taken at the DMV. Now sign on the dotted line, sucker. Tuition: $45k a year.

  2. If - and that's a big if - the ABA actually imposed this 75% pass the bar within two years rule, a lot of the bottom feeder schools would be in big trouble. You look at the median LSAT scores at some of these slag heaps, and it's clear that it will be a struggle for them to achieve even a 50% bar passage rate. Also, under the current "no less than 15% below the average bar passage rate" rule, shit holes like Cooley are aided by the fact that their own dumb-ass grads drag down average bar passage rate by a significant percentage. I'd be all for the proposed 75% rule.

  3. this is pointless. Everyone knows that Bar/Bri is needed to pass the bar. All the schools will just make this a requirement for the last semester. There are some schools that are doing this already.

    The bar is a joke. Let me draw a common connection:

    1. Didn't a state already drop the requirement to take the bar if you graduated from within the states law school?? um yes.

    2. In MI you only need an associates degree to sit for the bar? yeah.

    3. NY only requires one year of law school to sit for the bar.

    4. In California, the rules are so relaxed, baby bar, then bar and you do not need a law degree to sit for the bar there. Heck, you can even "read" the law to qualify to sit.

    All the above will highly depend on the condensed Bar/Bri study course in order to pass. They are guaranteed to double on the study time, if going the non traditional route.

    So holding the schools accountable for pass rates even when there are so many non traditional routes... wont change a thing. They will just adjust and double down on the study time and require there students to make this happen.

    Like admissions and AMMPLE. You can keep a man down from Destiney, you just need a little luck and hustle....

    1. The numbskulls that some law skules admit these days wouldn't pass with 10 years of BarBri. Here's the ultimatum; raise your standards or close shop. Simple as that, really.

  4. Suppose Cooley doesn't accept LSATs from anyone, except one administator's son who "enrolls" with a 165 score. These law schools are desperate to game the rules anyway they can.

  5. The cpa exam is a joke, so the bar exam might as well follow.

  6. Um, Nando Forbes website says that the average lawyer Salary is $144,000 per the article (the second highest paid profession is being a lawyer)

    I think there is a credibility issue going on? Maybe the legal field is not as bad as the new law grads are saying ... AND they will make the higher salary later on, in their career?

    Old guy... Do you Concur?

    1. If that figure is from BLS, it does not include 1) people with JD'S who are no longer practicing law or never got a job as a lawyer to begin with, and 2) solo pactitioners (because solos are not salaried employees). Average income for ALL solos is under 50K.

      Don't make the mistake of conflating law school graduates with lawyers.

    2. Ah yes, Mr. AAMPLE, you clearly have got lots of time on your hands to post at 12:48 on 3/11 and 11:30 on 3/10-but let's look at the Forbes piece.
      First, no authority is listed.
      Second, there are a grand total, per this Forbes piece of 995 jobs paying this salary-with the median being the preposterous $144,000 amount.
      3. This is for "lawyer" jobs. check out your beloved AAMPLE schools and you'll note that not many people get JD required jobs-it a lot of "JD advantage" and "professional" jobs-which aren't counted in this total.
      3. Please old guy alone; he like the rest of us are weary of your trolling.
      4. How many AAMPLE grads are making $144,000? Oh, that's right, the law schools don't disclose salaries...

    3. That probably is the average salary for people listed as attorneys. Since you can't count doc reviewers and the unemployed as attorneys, or a solo that occasionally has a case.

      I'm sure if you did a salary review for professional actors or basketball players the numbers would also be quite high.

    4. Hey, you idiot bastard. The IRS says the average salary for a self-employed sole practitioner is about $49,000. There are 350,000, and they are almost HALF the damn profession. Troll somewhere else jackass.

    5. Lawyer pay is hugely inflated by equity partners drawing seven-figure checks. Very few recent grads have a hope of joining that elite club, because the ladder up to the partnership has been pulled up. Most associates wash out on a track that is longer and more sadistic than ever.

      The only credibility issue is with people ignorant enough about the state of the profession to suppose it gets better for law grads.

    6. March 11, 2016 at 12:48 AM:

      What was your practice area again? I may have missed it earlier. KTHXBYE

    7. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMarch 13, 2016 at 10:11 PM

      Rodney King said it best; "Can't we all just get along?" The 49K, if true, sucks. Paul Campos data is 10K less than that for Solos. Can't really blame anybody for looking at the BLS data or Forbes. He was aimply asking a question. Hopefully, he is enlightened and can now post and blog with authority at the Faculty Lounge or wherever there is a good opportunity to reach out to perspective students. Now is not a good time to attend law school.

  7. Yep, $144,000 a year. All of them. Every JD grad.

    Curiously, the whole world runs on statistics. Probability, standard deviations, bell curves, and such.

    The law DEFIES statistics. Every JD grad's starting salary is 3 or 4 standard deviations to the high end of the bell curve and the rest of the "curve" is flat.

    And then there is the matter of the Emperor's new clothes...

  8. If law schools were providing a proper education then ABA meetings would be unnecessary. If 3 out of 4 graduates cannot pass the bar, then the federal government should decline backing student loans to that law school. It would be just like a student loan application being denied from someone convicted of a drug offense. There is no reason why any law school with dismal bar passage rates should continue creating debtors.


    On March 9, 2016, Am Law Daily published an excellent Matt Leichter piece that was labeled “Why the ABA’s Bar-Passage Rule Isn’t as Tough as It Looks.” Review the excerpt below:

    “The committee's new rule does away with the tedious calculations in favor of a stricter, clearer standard: 75 percent of graduates in a calendar year who take the bar must pass within two years of their graduation dates.

    Obviously law schools can game the rule—by dissuading incapable graduates from taking the test at all or flunking underperforming students (a practice that might be limited by another proposed rule that would limit student attrition). Moreover, breaching the proposed rule does not automatically result in disaccreditation. Rather, law schools would have two years to come back into compliance, or they could show good cause of extending the compliance period for any of six reasons. Two of them require law schools to help students and graduates better prepare for the exam, and one cites "efforts by the law school to provide broader access to legal education while maintaining academic rigor."

    So just how many law schools will likely fall out of compliance with the proposed rule? Unfortunately, it's not so easy to say, because no one publishes two-year cumulative bar-passage statistics by law school. Even so, with the help of algebra and a few generous assumptions, we can predict that the proposed standard won’t be too hard for law schools to beat.

    If a given law school's graduates have the same likelihood of passing the bar each time they take it, up to four tries, and no one quits, then the minimum pass rate is simply 1 minus the fourth root of 25 percent of bar takers: a 29.3 percent passing at each administration. With 100 graduates taking the bar, after the first administration 71 students remain, then 50, 35 and finally 25 after the final administration. Thus, 75 percent can pass within four administrations in two years.

    But the above illustration isn't realistic. The less capable someone is of passing the bar, the more often they will fail, so the pass rate for retakers undoubtedly drops with each administration. Moreover, because of the commitment required to pass the bar, people who have failed twice are likely to stop trying. One can create all kinds of cumulative bar-passage models, but how about if three-quarters of the remaining graduates quit after the second and third administrations, and the pass rate for all retakers is half the first-time pass rate? Under these conditions, the minimum first-time pass rate rises above 58 percent.”

    As you can see, the new proposed “standard” still provides ABA-accredited trash pits with several options. Expect to see certain commodes persuade some graduates not to even take the bar exam. Could you imagine – for one millisecond – if accredited U.S. medical or dental schools had to resort to such measures?!?!

  10. In tee ball they give you participation trophies. It's stupid but it makes the kid and his parents feel better.

    Gaining admission to law school nowadays is the same thing. Except for the fact that you'll end up with a shit ton of debt and shit job prospects.

  11. This will give the greedy sh@ts an opportunity to delay reporting the results of the more recent classes (you know the ones with the lower LSATs)

  12. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMarch 12, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Check out the Tax Prof law blog. Law School applicants from top schools are down 42%.

  13. It's all about keeping up appearances. More and more people are figuring out the whole education racket, and "regulatory" organizations like the ABA have to maintain the illusion that they're enforcing some sort of standard so as to keep that federally-backed student loan money coming in.

  14. You still see idiots getting excited over getting into Shit University Law School. Last week, a coworker's daughter got into some place I never even heard of. Turns out its in PA and is an ABA school. Sad. Just so sad.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMarch 12, 2016 at 7:17 PM

      I "know" her. She graduated from Central Baptist Torah Tech with a 2.675 in Psychology. She is an assistant district manager for TJ Max earning 40K for 80 Hours per week and irregular hours. Or she sits in a cube all day taking orders for Diabetes supplies and is bored because she wants to "help others," and is pissed she isn't CEO after 9 months of "paying her dues." Even a Solo gig after Cooley earning 35K is better than that shit... She also knows that she will never pay her loans back...

    2. Carswell, what's to say that she isn't a classic K-JD instead? Middle-class, told to get "a degree" pretty much since she started elementary school, packed off to some mediocre private university. Now she's staring at a useless degree, tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt, and wondering what she's going to do with her life. Along comes a law dean, promising that a J.D. will launder that B.A. into a nice, marketable education that will get her the sort of job that her parents thought she'd get almost automatically by virtue of having a college degree. She's not about to work 80 hours a week as a retail monkey. Didn't her parents tell her that either she'd get a degree or she'd be "flipping burgers or working retail"?

    3. I ran the numbers in a much less sophisticated way and came to the same result - status quo ante.

    4. Oh dear, I meant to post my comment under Nando's March 12, 2016 at 3:51 AM comment on the “Why the ABA’s Bar-Passage Rule Isn’t as Tough as It Looks." article.

  15. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingMarch 12, 2016 at 5:08 PM

    It's been at least 7 posts that you haven't pictured a toilet. What is wrong with you? Have you gone soft? Did some Dean hack into your computer and discover your identity and threaten to revoke your JD if you didn't lighten up? I miss your toilet photo as much as I miss Nancy Reagan.


    On February 16, 2016, ATL posted a Kyle McEntee entry that was labeled “The ABA’s New Bar Pass Rate Standards.” Check out the following section:

    “The [$tandard$ Review CommiTTTee] has submitted a new cumulative bar passage standard for the Council’s approval. Under the prpposed standard, at least 75% of all graduates that take a bar exam must pass it within two years. This modifies Test #1 and eliminates Test #2. In doing so, the SRC’s proposed standard eliminates the following loopholes:

    • Schools can cherry pick graduate bar outcomes to report a higher composite bar passage rate than it knows its graduates achieved;
    • Plummeting bar exam performance at some or many in-state schools makes surviving Test #2 easier for low-performing schools;
    • A low-performing school can skew the state-wide average enough to benefit from its graduates failing the bar;
    • In states with only one school, those schools have no bar passage requirement;
    • Schools can exclude from their bar passage rate calculations graduates who fail a bar exam once and don’t take it again.

    Moreover, the proposed standard shortens the time frame in which schools are held accountable for poor bar exam outcomes. The current five-year window makes no sense. After three attempts, 99.3% of people who pass the bar exam have done so. The figure is 99.9% after four attempts.

    The first-time bar passage rate still matters and will continue to be disclosed by law schools. It will just play no role in accreditation.


    These are two very important points of progress. Soon, prospective and current students will have information that will help them make more informed choices about whether and where to go to school, as well as whether to continue. Policymakers, journalists, and advocates will also obtain the information they need to hold schools accountable in various ways.

    The Council still has one very important choice to make beyond sending Standard 316 out for notice and comment and instructing the DPCC to quickly finalize its progress so the Council can approve new disclosures. The Council must put changes to Standard 501 and Standard 316 on the August 2016 House of Delegates agenda, rather than the February 2017 agenda as it has planned. These two very basic safeguards must be in place so no law school can make excuses about the 2016-2017 admissions cycle when those students first take the bar exam in 2020.”

    These ABA committees are comprised of Biglaw scum and academic thieves. They look after their own, and no one else matters to them. Look for these cockroaches to water down the final action, to delay the hell out of the matter. They figure that in a few years, people will forget about accredited law schools admitting waterheads and functional illiterates. Plus, they hope that smarter college grads, i.e. those with stellar LSAT scores, will once again start applying to their diploma mills.


    Paul Caron covered this developmenTTT in a March 7, 2016 TaxProf piece labeled “ABA May Impost Tougher 75% Bar Passage Standard, Allow Admission To Law School Without Any Standardized Test.” Head to the Comments, for some real insight:

    Posted by: Anon | Mar 7, 2016 5:41:48 AM

    “Eliminate the LSAT? I'm not a huge fan, but it is nicely predictive and given the race to the bottom ongoing in the schools, I fail to see what good it serves to toss the test. Very shortsighted proposal from the worst offending law schools.

    I bet Dan Bernstein wishes he could pull his press release on the LSAT's predictive ability. It has been shown by ncbe to be correlated, making his comment wrong. His comments will be used by scam level schools to ditch the LSAT. Shooting yourself in the foot is embarrassing enough. LSAC just shot itself in the head.”

    Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Mar 7, 2016 6:12:54 AM

    “The ABA wants to lead the profession down apparently strange paths. Eliminating the LSAT will mean less qualified students get in. Demanding that law school get 75% to pass their bar exams within two years requires more qualified students not less.

    That is, unless the ABA's goal is counter the current glut of lawyers by reducing the number of law schools, turning out fewer graduates, and ensuring that the lawyers who remain make more money.

    The ABA wouldn't be thinking in such grossly mercenary terms would they?”

    Posted by: JM | Mar 7, 2016 10:57:33 AM

    “I am beginning to favor abolishing any admissions criteria other than a 4 year college degree. Just get it over already. The lobby from the schools is too strong, and they are too desperate. Hell, you can even succeed in abolishing the bar exam.

    The result is that everyone will focus on debt levels and employment results. So, basically, you can run but you can't hide.”

    Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Mar 8, 2016 9:00:08 PM

    “You fellers or ladies are not thinking like a high faluten counselor at law like me. It's simple, really. The no name Phoenix Cooleys of the world will simply pressure Bar Examiners to lower the passing scores.”

    In the end, the game is rigged. After all this obfuscating, the ABA - and its member dung heaps - can apply pressure on state legislatures to eliminate bar exams for graduates of ABA-accredited schools. Don't be surprised if the pigs go after the NCBE, with regards to the MBE. As long as federal student loans are issued to cover a student's tuition - for a Political "Science" degree, PhD in Gender Studies, or a garbage law degree - then the univer$itie$ and independent excrement piles will do and say ANYTHING, in order to keep the gravy train rolling along.

    1. As Nando notes, the game is rigged.

      Pretty much every other profession regulates its schools-take a good look at the AMA and the ADA as two examples. In the case of law schools, the sole purpose of the ABA is to protect the existing schools so that the money keeps flowing, and to get money flowing to even more fat cats.
      Need proof? Well, Valpo's troubles are well-known-so who wants to bet that IT gets accredited anyway? Clearly, IT is a mess and doesn't deserve accreditation, and Indiana certainly doesn't need any more lawyers-but IT will get its ABA stamp of approval before the end of 2016-count on it.

      And even though many schools seem to be on the "brink" such as all the Infilaw schools, not one ABA approved law school has closed since the collapse of 2008. Yes, some have merged and others have gotten smaller, but this has been in response to market forces and not ABA action.
      No, the game is rigged, and it's the ABA's job to keep the game going. If you parse through the ABA gobbledygook on bar pass rates, etc, there are so many outs for the schools, and such a long period of review(2 years) that the new standards for passage are meaningless. The real kicker is the door is now open to no LSAT, further opening the doors to soon to be open admissions.
      And that's the key: the ABA wants the schools to stay open, to keep the fat cats fat. It doesn't care at all about the students or newly minted JDs from these TTTs; these are people who have no power and will never have any power, and will never sit on ABA committees to engage in ritual hand-wringing. Instead, the ABA committees are composed of the deans of TTTs and the occasional biglaw partner, none of whom gives a damn what happens to TTT graduates.
      Just take a few moments and review the press reports of the case involving TJU. Can you imagine this occurring for any other profession?

    2. If the ABA bar passage rules do NOT shut down the bottom 20 or 30 schools, then there is no point to them.


Web Analytics