Accreditation & Standards

2 of Puerto Rico's 3 law schools will get more time to meet bar pass standard

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Following repeated failures to show compliance with Standard 316, which requires a bar passage rate of at least 75% within two years, the ABA has given an extension of up to three years to Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law and Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law.

The decision was made by the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and posted on the section’s website. According to a 2019 guidance memo, other factors in addition to pass rates can be considered when determining compliance with Standard 316.

Bar passage rates used to determine recent Standard 316 compliance are from 2019 graduates. At Inter American, the pass rate was 60% for 2019 graduates, 55.43% for 2018 graduates, and 64.49% for 2017 graduates, according to ABA data.

For Pontifical, the pass rate was 45.53% for 2019 graduates, 52.08% for 2018 graduates and 70.87% for 2017 graduates, according to ABA data.

Fernando Moreno Orama, the law school’s dean, says that Puerto Rico has the lowest bar passage rates of all jurisdictions, and he’s hopeful recent changes to its cut score will improve the situation.

“Along with the deans of our sister schools, we will continue to seek comprehensive reforms not just to the bar exam but to the admission to the bar process as a whole,” Moreno wrote in an email.

The commonwealth’s third law school, at the University of Puerto Rico, has the territory’s highest bar passage rates. It was 69.87% for 2019 graduates, 77.51% for 2018 graduates and 78.47% for 2017 graduates, according to ABA data.

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