The State Bar seeks comment on a proposed change to law school rules to require six units of competency training.
Deadline: Sept. 5, 2017
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
Proposed Amendments to Law School Regulation Rules to Require 6 Units of Competency Training
The Board of Trustees (Board) established two Task Forces on Admissions Regulation Reform (TFARR) several years ago, which ultimately resulted in a recommendation that applicants seeking admission to practice law in California be required to complete 15 units of experiential/ competency training as a condition of admission. After discussions during several meetings of the Board, the TFARR proposal was referred to the Committee of Bar Examiners (Committee) by the Board during its November 2016 meeting. An excerpt from the Board minutes follows:
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform proposal regarding mandated competency training admission requirements be referred to the Committee of Bar Examiners for further consideration, and the committee report back to the Board of Trustees on this matter during the Board’s July 2017 meeting.
Also included in the original proposed motion for Board of Trustees’ consideration was the following:
RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees recommends that the Committee of Bar Examiners consider adopting rules requiring a minimum of 6 units of competency training as part of the curricula of the law schools it regulates, which rules will be subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees.
Consideration of the TFARR recommendations was deferred due to the many studies currently being conducted regarding the bar examination. In response to the Board’s action in November 2016 relative to mandating six units of competency training for students attending schools that it regulates, the Committee discussed whether the law school regulation rules and/or guidelines should be amended to mandate competency training as part of the curricula of for California Accredited Law School (CALS) and registered law schools.Beginning with the 2016-2017 entering classes, the American Bar Association (ABA) law schools must have their students complete a minimum of 6 units of competency training, many believe it would be appropriate to have a similar requirement for the schools the Committee regulates in order to create a level playing field.
After discussion of this matter during its June 2017 meeting, the Committee adopted in principle a proposed new “Rule 4.160(F) (Competency Training)” of the Accredited Law School Rules (Attachment A) and the proposed new “Rule 4.240(F) (Competency Training)” of the Unaccredited Law School Rules (Attachment B).
While it may be more of a challenge for the unaccredited law schools to provide the necessary units, the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules were recently amended by the Committee, after a period of public comment, to require law schools accredited by the Committee to provide the opportunity for students in their J.D. programs to complete a minimum of fifteen (15) units of practice-based skills and competency training.
Following the period of public comment, the proposed new rules and any comments received will be considered by the Committee in preparation for adoption of a final version of the rules and submission of the new rules to the Board of Trustees for approval.
A. Rule 4.160 of the Accredited Law School Rules
B. Rule 4.240 of the Unaccredited Law School Rules
Committee of Bar Examiners
Sept. 5, 2017
The State Bar of California
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105