Endangered: Historically Black Law Schools?
14 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2011 Last revised: 17 Dec 2012
Date Written: March 28, 2011
ABA Interpretation 301-6 provides that a law school must meet minimum Bar-passage requirements to comply with Standard 301(a) regarding the quality of its educational program. The Subcommittee on Bar Passage of the Standards Review Committee has proposed the benchmarks for minimum satisfactory Bar passage. The standard for first-time Bar passage rates would be raised from 15% the state ABA average to 10% below. The alternate benchmark, based on ultimate Bar passage rates (cumulative over several attempts) would be raised from 75% to 80%. The proposed revision is in fact a reversion to benchmarks used before the adoption of Interpretation 301-6. The proposed benchmarks were proposed in May 2007, and ultimately were rejected when 301-6 was adopted.
More importantly, the evidence suggests that the benchmarks used before Interpretation 301-6 resulted in a sharp reduction of the share of Black/African-American students at Historically Black Law Schools (HBLSs). At half of HBLSs, Black/African-American students are not the predominant racial or ethnic group, but at best a plurality. In one HBLS, students are now predominately White/Caucasian.
Keywords: ABA, Legal Education, Bar Exam, Bar Passage Rates, Historically Black Law Schools, ABA Interpretation 301-6
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