According to a media release by University of La Verne College of Law, University of La Verne College of Law Dealt Setback, on Monday, the law school was notified by telephone that the Council of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar was both denying the law school's application for full accreditation, and withdrawing its provisional accreditation, effective as of June 30.
While detailed findings are not yet available, the ABA Council’s overall opinion was that the law school’s first-time bar pass rate, which jumped from 34 percent in 2009 to 53 percent in 2010, had not sufficiently improved. (Emphasis added.)
But Interpretation 301-6 allows law scho0ls to comply with the Bar-passage component of Standard 301 either based on its relative first-time Bar passage rate or the overall (cumulative) Bar passage rates. As noted by Karen Sloan, in her article, Irvine wins provisional accreditation, but La Verne loses ABA's blessing (National Law Journal), the cumulative Bar passage rate for the 2009 cohort was already at 73%, or almost the 75% currently required by 301-6.
According to Sloan,
La Verne's bar passage rate was a sticking point for the council last year. The accreditation committee recommended in 2010 that La Verne receive full accreditation, but the council — which has the final say — extended the school's provisional accreditation for one year so it could gather more information about bar passage rates, admission decisions and related academic support.
As I discussed in ABA Standards and Bar Passage Rates, Bar passage rates implicate both Standard 301 (quality of academic program) and Standard 501 (quality of admitted students). I'll have more to say about academic support as a part of a law school's academic program, but the Council's apparent primary reliance on first-time Bar passage rates implies that the ABA may not be committed to cumulative Bar passage rates as an alternative to first-time rates. As I suggested in Estimating 301-6 Risk: First Cut, several law schools, including a majority of the Historically Black Law Schools can meet 301-6 only based on cumulative rates.