As I discussed in AToTLS: Introduction, the ABA reportedly based its denial of full accreditation to University of La Verne, at least in part, on Standard 303 (continuing enrollment of students) and Interpretation 303-3. AToTLS: Academic Attrition compared academic attrition rates at Charlotte Law School and La Verne.
This installment looks at the second aspect of academic support: "a satisfactory opportunity to ... become a member of the legal profession." As written, Interpretation 303-3 has a narrower than does Standard 301(a). As I discussed in AToTLS: 301 and Transparency, Standard 301(a) looks at both "admission to the bar, and effective and responsible participation in the legal profession" (emphasis added). Interpretation 303-3 (proposed Standard 306(d), (pg. 5)) looks only at becoming a member of the legal profession.
One would think that neither this year's Accreditation Committee, nor the Council, could have found La Verne wanting based on Bar passage rate. As I discussed in More on La Verne, La Verne's cumulative Bar passage rates exceeded even the proposed 80% benchmark in three of the last five annual cohorts. I have not seen any of the correspondence between the ABA and La Verne, but I have been told that the Council was dissatisfied with La Verne's first-time bar passage rates and difference scores. See also, Karen Sloan, Irvine wins provisional accreditation, but La Verne loses ABA's blessing.
If first-time Bar passage played any role in the decisions on La Verne, then something is wrong at the Secti0n of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. Either the Council is not following it's own rules, or it is applying an informal, second, bar passage benchmark.
I can understand why the Council might think the proper focus is first-time Bar passage. Failing the Bar on the first attempt is costly, both psychologically and financially--all those student loans start coming due. Not every first-failer is My Cousin Vinny, and persists, keeps retaking the Bar in the face of multiple failures. But, if memory serves, that issue came up when 301-6 was first considered. Even the proposed changes to 301-6 would keep cumulative (ultimate) Bar passage rates as an alternative Bar passage benchmark.
If something else is going on, the Council needs to put it in the Standards. Even if the action on La Verne was "to instruct the others," secret signals instruct no one.