The American Bar Association’s accrediting body put law schools on notice Monday that it intended to tighten a rule that sets a deadline for graduates to pass state bar exams — a near-universal requirement for becoming a practicing lawyer.
The new measure would clarify the existing deadline that 75 percent of students pass within two years. Bar passage rates have been falling noticeably across the country.
At issue for the schools is their accreditation by the association. The theory behind the rule, which is one factor in accreditation, is that schools should be accepting students who are likely to have the qualifications to become practicing lawyers. Proponents of the change say that schools exploit students when they accept those who — based on admissions tests and other measurements — have a small chance of succeeding.
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