ABA to Set New Bar Passage Standards for Accreditation:

National Law Journal

In general, the change would create a quantitative rule requiring law schools to demonstrate that 75% of their graduates passed the bar exam or to show that their pass rates were within a certain range compared with other law schools in the same jurisdiction. The change is technically a new interpretation of an existing accreditation standard. Almost all states require law students to graduate from an ABA-accredited law school in order to obtain a license to practice.... At a hearing last month before the Accreditation Standards Review Committee about the change, several prominent lawyers and scholars expressed their disapproval. Among them was General Motors North America Vice President and General Counsel E. Christopher Johnson, who argued that a bright-line rule would hurt minority enrollment because it would deter law schools from accepting applicants with lower scores on the Law School Admission Test.

Johnson is probably right, though another possibility is that pressure would come to bear on state bars to make their bar exams easier (which, as someone who doesn't believe in bar exams to begin with, I think would be a good thing). Meanwhile, one can question whether schools whose minority students pass the bar at rates well below 75% are doing those students much of a favor by accepting them despite low LSAT scores that predict future bar passage issues, taking their tuition money, and then leaving half or more of them without a career as an attorney.

Thanks to Paul Caron at TaxProf for the pointer.