SUBJECT

Proposed revisions of Rule 9.30, Rule of Court re Unaccredited Law Schools.

BACKGROUND

Rule 9.30, California Rules of Court, (Attachment 1) establishes the basic requirements for students attempting to qualify for admission to practice law in California through their study at unaccredited law schools in California, which are not approved by the American Bar Association or accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners (Committee).  While the numbering has changed, the rule has not substantively been amended since 1984.

Beginning in 2008, a new law was enacted that delegates primary oversight of unaccredited law schools to the Committee in place of the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.  After the legislation was passed and signed, the Committee adopted, and the Board of Governors approved, the Unaccredited Law School Rules, which provide more detailed requirements for unaccredited law schools that wish to be registered by the Committee and that intend to qualify their students for the First-Year Law Students’ Examination, the California Bar Examination, and, ultimately, admission to practice law in California.

In 2006, the State Bar undertook a rules revision project to integrate the organization’s more than two dozen sets of rules into a comprehensive structure of seven titles and to make the rules simpler, clearer, and more uniform.  This effort was extended to the Rules of Court that relate to certain State Bar programs, such as the proposed revision of Rule 9.30.

The proposed revision of Rule 9.30 was approved in principle by the Committee during its July 2010 meeting, and during its July 2010 meeting, the Board Committee on Regulation and Admissions approved sending the proposed amendments out for public comment.

PROPOSAL

The proposed revision of Rule 9.30 updates the language, references the “new” Unaccredited Law School Rules, which contain the current requirements for registration of unaccredited law schools by the Committee, and addresses the requirements for the law schools instead of the credit an applicant might obtain by attending an unaccredited law school.  The primary changes in the proposed revised Rule 9.30 are as follows:

  1. The law library requirements for unaccredited law schools, in which specific volumes are listed, are no longer contained in the court rule (although they are contained in the Guidelines that interpret the Unaccredited Law School Rules), which permits more flexibility as resources and needs change over time.
  2. Distance-learning (online) law schools are identified as separate from correspondence law programs.
  3. Unaccredited law schools are specifically required to pay the fees set by the State Bar’s Board of Governors.
  4. The same things are required for both correspondence (and distance-learning) law schools and unaccredited fixed-facility law schools, as much as practical, i.e., physical facilities are suitable for conducting classes for fixed-facility law schools only.

In addition, the revised rules contain other editorial and non-substantive changes.  The rule needs to be updated to ensure that it is up to date and that it is not in conflict with other relevant laws and rules regulating unaccredited law schools.

ANY KNOWN FISCAL/PERSONAL IMPACT

None. 

ATTACHMENTS
  1. 2010 California Rules of Court. Rule 9.30 Law School study in schools other than those accredited by the examining committee.
  2. Proposed Revision of Rule of Court 9.30 Law Study in Unaccredited Law Schools.
SOURCE

Committee of Bar Examiners

COMMENT DEADLINE

September 10, 2010 

DIRECT COMMENTS TO:

Kim Wong
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 538-2319
Fax Number: 415-538-2304
E-mail Address: kim.wong@calbar.ca.gov