Law school gets extension to meet Standard 316; ABA Legal Ed council posts additional notice on faculty diversity
Updated: The Golden Gate University School of Law, which has not had a two-year bar pass rate at or above 75% since its class of 2017, has received an extension to come into compliance with Standard 316, which requires a bar passage rate of at least 75% within a two-year time period.
The council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar posted a notice Monday. On the same day, a notice was posted that the University of Oregon School of Law was out of compliance with Standard 206(b), which addresses having a diverse and inclusive faculty and staff.
This year, Standard 316 compliance is determined by 2020 graduates. For that class at Golden Gate University, the pass rate is 62.71, and the law school’s 2022 first-time test-taker pass rate is 45.38.
The law school also received the Standard 316 notice in 2021. Golden Gate University’s two-year pass rate was 75% for the class of 2017, 57.5% for the class of 2018 and 67% for the class of 2019.
Colin Crawford, the law school’s dean, told the ABA Journal in an email that the council did not impose sanctions with its finding, and that the school has “worked aggressively” to implement a reliable plan to improve bar pass rates. According to Crawford, the law school’s July 2022 first-time pass rate “was 17 points higher than the previous year.”
“GGU Law is confident that sustained efforts to increase bar pass rates will achieve compliance before December 2026, as required by the council,” Crawford wrote.
According to the notice, Golden Gate University’s time extension can run up to three years, providing that the law school shows progress in carrying out its reliable plan.
Based on data for the class of 2020, six law schools have two-year bar pass rates below 75%. Besides Golden Gate University, the other five schools are:
• The Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law, which has a two-year bar pass rate of 58.58%.
• The Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, which as a two-year bar pass rate of 61%.
• The Appalachian School of Law, which as a two-year bar pass rate of 71.43%.
• The University of Puerto Rico School of Law, which as a two-year bar pass rate of 71.43%.
• The Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law, which as a two-year bar pass rate of 72.63%.
Regarding Pontifical Catholic University, its bar exam report as of March 14 shows a two-year pass rate of 84.15%. Fernando Moreno Orama, the law school’s dean, told the ABA Journal in an email that the class of 2020 pass rate is actually 72.63%; there was an error in the information submitted, and a correction has been requested.
Bar passage data is public for consumers and should not be seen as “a compliance report” for Standard 316, said Bill Adams, managing director of ABA accreditation and legal education, in a February news release.
In addition to Golden Gate University’s law school, Inter American University’s law school, Western Michigan University’s law school and Pontifical Catholic University’s law school have received extensions to come into compliance with Standard 316.
Regarding the University of Oregon, the compliance finding is regarding the law school’s part-time faculty or adjunct faculty, according to the notice. The school has been asked to submit a report to the council by June 30, which will be considered when it meets in August.
According to the law school’s Standard 509 Information Report, it has 52 non-full-time faculty; 23 are men, 29 are women and nine are people of color.
Marcilynn A. Burke, the law school’s dean, did not immediately respond to an ABA Journal interview request.
Updated March 14 at 11:05 a.m. to add information for the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law. Updated March 14 at 12:49 p.m. to add comment from Colin Crawford, the dean of the Golden Gate University School of Law.