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The American Bar Association has proposed a new definition for the way in which law schools must comply with the requirement that they prepare graduates to pass the bar examination. For schools already accredited but undergoing a periodic review, the proposal in general would require them to meet one of two standards: They would need to show that, in at least three of the most recent five years, first-time test takers passed at no more than 10 points below the first-time bar passage rates for graduates of other law schools taking the bar in the same jurisdiction. Schools unable to meet the first requirement would need to demonstrate that 80% of their graduates who took the exam anywhere in the country passed within three attempts, within three years of graduation. Provisionally accredited schools would need to show the same pass rates in two of the three most recent bar exams. Provisionally accredited schools would also have available the second alternative. The provision also enumerates requirements for law schools with more than 20% of their graduates taking tests in other jurisdictions. The provision, which is an interpretation of one of the ABA standards for approval of law schools, is open for notice and comment. Its final version will go to the ABA House of Delegates for a vote at the group’s annual conference in August.

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