In a recent blog post, we discussed the ABA’s approval of new standards which will require law schools to show that at least 75 percent of its graduates pass the bar exam in order to remain accredited.
The ABA has wasted no time in making an example out of the Charlotte School of Law. The school has been placed on two years’ probation. The ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved a measure that tightens the standards regarding bar-passage rates. The proposal is expected to be presented to the ABA House of Delegates in February 2017, according to the ABA Journal.
However, the American Bar Association has publicly criticized the school’s admission standards and its plummeting pass rates on the bar exam. According to an article in the Charlotte Observer, the ABA has given the school 30 days to deliver a report on how it plans to fix the problems.
The passing rate, 45 percent on the most recent exam this summer, is the lowest in North Carolina, a full 20 percentage points beneath the state average. Faculty turnover has been a growing problem, and as with many law schools, enrollment has fallen.
The school has been given a list of demands which include:
1) Notifying students that the institution has been placed on probation. This action had to happen within 5 days and be posted prominently on the school’s website.
2) The school has also been ordered to notify each student in writing of graduates’ passage rates on the North and South Carolina bar exams.
3) The school must report on its admission data and practices by Dec. 15, explaining whether and how it uses factors other than grade point averages and LSAT scores.
4) The school must also present a compliance plan by the same deadline.
Some blame the school’s economic model, coupled with the economic downturn for certain admissions decisions that may have ultimately led to the low passage rates. According to the article, Charlotte School of Law Dean, Jay Conison is confident that the school will be able to turn things around before the two year probationary period is up. Time will tell if the school can be successful.