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 revised new Guidelines 12.1 and 12.2, Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules (Guidelines), needed to interpret and enforce a new accreditation standard requiring California-accredited law schools to maintain a minimum, cumulative bar examination pass rate. If ultimately adopted, the current numbering in the Guidelines would be revised to accommodate the insertion of the new Guidelines.

BACKGROUND:

The Committee of Bar Examiners’ Advisory Committee on California Accredited Law School Rules (RAC), which is composed of three representatives from California-accredited law schools (CALS) and three Committee of Bar Examiners (Committee) representatives, voted by a majority vote to recommend to the Committee that the Accredited Law School Rules and the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules be amended to include a minimum Cumulative Bar Examination Pass Rate (CBEPR) as a new standard for accreditation. The Committee considered the matter during its June 2012 meeting and approved the recommendation in principle, subject to a public comment period that included a public forum for receiving oral comments. During its July 2012 meeting, the State Bar’s Board of Trustees Committee on Regulation, Admissions and Discipline Oversight agreed that the new rule should be circulated for public comment. The public comment period concluded September 17, 2012.

After the public comment period had ended, all comments received were reviewed by RAC and it recommended adoption of the new rule by the Committee. During its October 2012 meeting, the Committee adopted proposed new rule, Rule 4.160(M), Accredited Law School Rules, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will consider approval of the new rule during its November 2012 meeting.

After consideration of the public comments received, however, and after further discussion of the proposed new Guidelines, the RAC did not agree that the proposed Guidelines circulated for public comment should be recommended for adoption by the Committee. After its consideration of comments received from the RAC and a proposed revision of the Guidelines, the Committee agreed to circulate the revised version of the proposed Guidelines (Attachment B) for an abbreviated public comment period.

The Committee will again consider the matter of the language of the proposed Guidelines during its November 30 and December 1, 2012 meeting, which will include consideration of all discussions and public comment received to date and any additional comments that may be received relating to the revised version of the Guidelines.

Final adoption and implementation of new Guidelines will be subject to approval of the proposed accreditation rule, which is before the Board of Trustees and the Board Committee on Regulation, Admissions and Discipline Oversight during their November 2012 meetings.

PROPOSAL:

The revised proposed new Guidelines will be used to interpret and enforce Rule 4.160(M) of the Accredited Law School Rules (following approval of the new rule by the Board of Trustees). The proposed Guidelines will require that CALS maintain a specified minimum, cumulative California bar examination pass rate. When compared to the first version of the proposed Guidelines circulated earlier for public comment, the revised proposed version of the Guidelines: 1) replaces the 50% minimally compliant rate with a 40% minimum CBEPR; 2) requires that the CALS begin calculating and reporting their respective CBEPRs with the submission of their 2013 Annual Compliance Reports; 3) specifies that a Notice of Noncompliance may be issued by the Committee to any CALS that fails to report in its 2013 Annual Compliance Report that it is compliant with the proposed 40% CBEPR set forth in the revised version of Guideline 12.1; and 4) based upon the CBEPR a law school reports in its 2016 Annual Compliance Report, places on probation any CALS not then in compliance under the provisions of Rule 4.172 of the Accredited Law School Rules.

ANY KNOWN FISCAL/PERSONNEL IMPACT:

None

ATTACHMENTS:

Attachment A contains the proposed new rule, Rule 4.160(M). Attachment B contains two revised proposed new Guidelines, Guideline 12.1 and Guideline 12.2, which would be used to interpret the new rule.

SOURCE:

Committee of Bar Examiners

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS:

Nov. 28, 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)
E-mail: Kim.Wong@calbar.ca.gov

PC1012-1