RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION PROPOSED INTERPRETATION 301-6
WHEREAS, the American Bar Association (“ABA”) is the body that accredits law schools in the United States;
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Education (“DOE”) grants this accrediting authority to the ABA;
WHEREAS, the DOE is urging the ABA to place greater emphasis on outcome measurements such as bar examination passage rates in accrediting law schools;
WHEREAS, the ABA Council on Legal Education is proposing an accreditation change, Interpretation 301-6, that uses bar examination passage rates as a dominant criterion for a school's continued accreditation;
WHEREAS, bar examination passage rates are a quantitative measurement that may not, by itself, determine the quality of a law school's educational program;
WHEREAS, bar passage requirements vary by state making use of this measurement superficial and biased;
WHEREAS, making bar passage an accreditation requirement may provoke law schools into only accepting those students with higher LSAT scores, which will disproportionately impact admission of minority and other under-represented students;
WHEREAS, bar passage as an accreditation requirement may cause schools to teach test-taking, thereby reducing opportunities for students to learn skills necessary to be a competent lawyer and reducing opportunities for student participation in much needed public interest work;
WHEREAS, using bar passage as an accreditation requirement will profoundly effect the already declining minority admission to the bar.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association opposes the ABA Proposed Interpretation 301-6.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges the ABA to develop a multiple outcome measurement for accreditation purposes.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor, or his designees, shall communicate the substance of this resolution to the American Bar Association.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: JANUARY 24, 2008