PLEASE NOTE: Publication for public comment is not, and shall not be construed as, a recommendation or approval by the Board of Trustees of the materials published.

SUBJECT:

Proposed amendments to Guideline 2.3(D) of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules re mandatory disclosure requirements.

BACKGROUND:

The Committee of Bar Examiners’ Advisory Committee on Accredited Law School Rules recommended that the mandatory disclosure requirements of Guideline 2.3(D) of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules be amended (Attachment A) to clarify such requirements and standardize the method by which are published by California-accredited law schools (CALS). The Committee agreed in principle to the recommendation, subject to a public comment period.

Guideline 2.3(D) of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules currently requires that CALS post disclosure notices that, “without alteration,” inform the general public, prospective applicants and enrolled students that, in essence, the study at or graduation from a CALS may not qualify a graduate to take the bar examination or to be admitted to practice in a jurisdiction other than California. This notice is currently required to be included within a CALS’ hard copy “course catalog” and the “principal page of its website for its J.D. degree program.”

The current wording of Guideline 2.3(D) also requires that a CALS “must advise potential students in its law school bulletin, or other document that is always provided to incoming students, that information related to the school’s bar examination pass rates can be found at” the State Bar’s website or, in the alternative, on the law school’s own website, as long as the pass rates and the time periods posted by an individual law school are the same as those posted by the State Bar.

Several CALS no longer print and disseminate hard copy “course catalogs” or “school bulletins,” and the nomenclature as to what constitutes the “principal page of a website” has become increasingly vague and ambiguous. As a result, many CALS use various alternative means to remain compliant with Guideline 2.3(D). Some CALS post the required disclosure regarding the bar examination limitations faced by their graduates in a variety of hard copy documents and on various pages of their website. Similarly, as to the mandatory requirement that they provide accurate information regarding their bar pass rates, some been found to post the mandatory Internet link to the State Bar’s website on a wide variety of pages and locations of their websites.

PROPOSAL:

The amendments to Guideline 2.3(D) would provide uniformity and allow the disclosure information associated with the requirements for CALS accreditation to be easily located. If ultimately adopted, the amended guideline will require CALS to create and make readily accessible an “Accreditation” page on their respective websites. On its Accreditation webpage, a CALS would be required to both post the mandatory disclosure notice and provide accurate information regarding the recent bar examination pass rates of its graduates by posting either an active link to the “Statistics” webpage of the State Bar’s website, or to post on the same page the pass rates for the ten most recent administrations (five years) of the California Bar Examination.

ANY KNOWN FISCAL/PERSONNEL IMPACT:

None.

ATTACHMENTS:

Attachment A contains the proposed amendments to Guideline 2.3(D) of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules.

SOURCE: Committee of Bar Examiners

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS:

September 17, 2012

DIRECT COMMENTS TO:

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