Thursday, August 4, 2016

The American Bar Association is considering a new bar-passage standard that some law school deans believe contradicts an existing clause on diversity and inclusion

The ABA will make a final decision in February 2017 on Standard 316, which requires all law schools “to prove that at least 75 percent of students in each class have passed a bar examination within two years of graduation.” Opponents of the proposed policy, however, argue that it conflicts with Standard 206, which states that accredited law schools must “demonstrate by concrete action a commitment to diversity and inclusion.” The Deans of several historically black law schools claim that the 75% bar passage standard threatens their very existence because “minority law graduates, whether at predominantly white law schools or [historically black colleges and universities], tend to have a lower bar passage rate than their white counterparts.” As such, they say, the new standard effectively punishes HBCUs, which have a higher concentration of minority students.

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