Nov 14, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

It’s not the first time that there’s controversy about the American Bar Association’s (ABA) bar pass rule.

The ABA is working hard to ensure that law school graduates can pass the exam within two years of graduating.

The ABA wants to require law schools to have “at least” 75 percent of their graduates pass the bar within two years of graduation.

The ABA’s proposal is controversial—schools are under enormous pressure from failing bar pass rates, increases in student debt, and a tight job market.

In the past, the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar was accused of being too lenient. The new proposal is trying to protect the interests of students.

Currently, the ABA gives schools up to five years to achieve a 75 percent pass rate, and also offers alternatives if they can’t meet the requirement.

The Legal Education Council has debated a harder rule for years, and approved the more difficult bar passage proposal last year. In February the ABA’s House of Delegates rejected it.

Supporters of the new rule say the change would prevent law schools from admitting students who can’t pass the bar. Critics say it discourages law schools from admitting statistically disadvantaged.

What happens now? The ABA met at the beginning of November to discuss the proposal again. We’ll keep you posted on the results of that meeting.

Learn more about going to law school.



Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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