American Bar Association: Higher standards are ‘unfair’ to minorities

The American Bar Association rejected a proposal on Monday to require at least 75 percent of law students at accredited schools to pass the bar exam no later than two years after their graduations. 

ABA’s House of Delegates argued that the requirement would “be unfair to institutions that serve minority students,” according to Inside Higher Education. An overwhelming majority of the ABA’s House of Delegates voted against the proposal, with a final tally of 88-334. 

Several ABA leaders concerned with diversity in the legal profession sent a letter, claiming that “proposed changes to Standard 316, the bar passage rule, will have an adverse impact upon diversity within legal education, the legal profession, and the entire educational pipeline.”

The letter also mentions several data points from the past 10 years of ABA-accredited HBCU law schools that were underperforming in bar passage results, noting that if the new standard for bar passage were to be applied to results from 2016 and 2017, the list of schools that would have lost accreditation “could include five of the six HBCUs.”

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