Legal Education

'Significant noncompliance' in admissions standard for Pontifical Catholic found by ABA Legal Ed council

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The Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law is out of compliance with an accreditation standard involving admissions, according to a notice posted Wednesday by the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

The May 31 finding, described as “significant noncompliance,” involves Standard 501(a), which requires that schools publish and follow sound admissions policies, and Standard 501(b), a requirement that schools only admit applicants who appear capable of completing law school and being admitted to practice law.

Fernando Moreno Orama, the law school’s dean, told the ABA Journal that he is surprised by the decision.

“In the past decade, our school has made great progress in all areas, including admissions and bar passage,” he told the Journal in an email.

The council’s decision could have a negative impact on diversity of lawyers in Puerto Rico, according to Moreno. But he also wrote that he’s confident that the law school will demonstrate compliance with the standard soon.

According to its Standard 509 Information Report, the median LSAT score for full-time students at Pontifical Catholic is 137, and the median undergraduate grade-point average is 3.26. Its two-year bar passage rate, based on the class of 2020, is 72.63%.

For academic attrition, which refers to students being asked to leave law school because of academic performance, the rate was 11.9% for the first-year class last year, according to ABA data.

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