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Abstract

Current and recently proposed American Bar Association (ABA) standards regarding students’ bar passage rates have a significant disparate impact on states that have adopted difficult bar examination passage standards (the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE cut scores). Many scholars have demonstrated that the ABA bar passage standards have a negative impact on diversity in the bar by discouraging law schools from enrolling large numbers of minority students, who have, traditionally, performed below state mean in passage rates on the exam. This study presents a new and supplemental standard for the ABA to use in monitoring student outcome measures and law schools’ quality of instruction: a comparison of law schools’ mean MBE scores in relation to the national mean MBE score. This new metric levels the playing field among all law schools irrespective of state MBE cut scores, provides an incentive to increase diversity in the bar, and provides significant consumer protection.

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