As I discussed in ABA Pulls La Verne's Accreditation, La Verne met the standards of 301-6 based on its cumulative Bar passage rates. I now have La Verne's cumulative Bar passage rates through the February 2011 Bar exams. The cumulative passage rates for the last five annual cohorts, and the corresponding first-time rates, are:
|University of La Verne
Bar Passage Rates
La Verne meets the 301-6 minimum for cumulative Bar passage rates for three out of five cohorts (2006, 2007 and 2008). The 2009 cohort is one candidate short of meeting the current 75% minimum. The 2010 cohort jumped to almost 70% after one more exam. Presumably, this information was available to the Section Council when it made its decision last weekend.
It's clear La Verne had an unusually high first-time passage rate for the 2008 cohort, and an unusually low rate for the 2009 cohort. For the other three cohorts, 2006, 2007 and 2010, first-time Bar passage rates are essentially flat (the standard error for the 2010 rate was 5.4%).
Yes there has been no improvement in first-time rates. But, for the recent cohorts, there is also no reason to believe that, after a few more administrations of the Bar exam, cumulative passage rates won't climb well into the mid 80s, if not higher.
So, what's wrong with La Verne, other than its unfortunate location in California, the state with the second-highest cut score?
The answer to that question may lie in the Bar Passage Sub-committee's November 2010 and December 2010 reports. The concern, that law schools were viewing 301-6 as showing compliance with Standards 301 (program quality), 303 (academic standards and achievements) and 501 (admission of unqualified applicants). In the view of the Subcommittee, Bar passage is only one component of those Standards. But more on that later.