Anyone seeking insight into the mind of a dean of an underperforming law school should read Scott DeVitto’s defense of his own Florida Coastal School of Law. In October 2015, The New York Times accused DeVitto’s school of knowingly enrolling students who had little hope of passing the bar. In a letter to the editor, the dean countered that 75 percent of his students passed the February 2015 exam. Overall, DeVitto claimed, 87 percent of Florida Coastal grads eventually pass the bar, though he didn’t specify how many tries it takes them.
One way to ease fears about schools churning out unprepared students would be for the American Bar Association to set specific minimum standards for incoming students. Instead, the ABA’s committee for reviewing law school accreditation rules proposed a new regulation in February that might motivate schools like Florida Coastal to think twice before admitting students who will struggle with the bar exam. The rule may be approved by the committee’s governing body as soon as March 11.
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