In March, the ABA Section of Legal Education's Council approved for notice and comment revisions to the ABA Standards 316 and 501 related to stricter bar passage rate requirements, admissions and attrition. Here are the key provisions:
Standard 316. BAR PASSAGE
At least 75 percent of a law school’s graduates in a calendar year who sat for a bar examination must have passed a bar examination administered within two years of their date of graduation.
Standard 501. ADMISSION
(a) A law school shall adopt, publish, and adhere to sound admission policies and practices consistent with the Standards, its mission, and the objectives of its program of legal education.
(b) A law school shall admit only applicants who appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.
Interpretation 501-3. ATTRITION
A law school having a non-transfer attrition rate above 20% percent bears the burden of demonstrating that it is in compliance with the Standard.
(For those wanting more detail, a marked up copy of the Standards (showing a comparison of the old rule and the proposed new rule) and the comments submitted regarding the proposal are available here.) Several thoughtful comments have been submitted related to these proposed standards, but this post is devoted to a comment submitted by Don LeDuc, the President and Dean of the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Mr. LeDuc has written to express his vociferous opposition to the proposed changes to ABA Standard 501 and 316.
It should not be at all surprising that Mr. LeDuc opposes any tightening of the rules regarding admissions given that he presides over the law school that admitted the statistically weakest law school entering class in history in 2015. What is surprising are his outlandish claims that it is an “unproven assertion” that bar results are tied to admission factors, and it is a “flawed premise” “that factors involved in law school admission decisions can be used to predict bar examination success.”