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Legal education, school gun safety top HOD agenda

The American Bar Association House of Delegates (HOD) meets later this month with a full slate of resolutions, including proposals to change the bar passage rate standard for law graduates and another to oppose arming non-security personnel in the nation’s schools.

The HOD, as the ABA policy-making body is known, meets Jan. 28 in Las Vegas at the end of the 2019 ABA Midyear Meeting. Its preliminary agenda has about 30 different resolutions. The HOD consists of 601 delegates from state, local and specialty bar associations and meets twice a year.

In a significant change, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is asking the delegates to concur with a change that would simplify the bar passage standard for the nation’s 203 ABA-approved law schools. The HOD rejected a similar change in 2017 that would require schools to have a bar-passage rate of at least 75 percent within two years for those who sat for the test. Now, schools can meet the passage standard through a variety of ways.

A study released by the Council found that nearly 9 of 10 law graduates who first sat for the bar in 2015 passed it within two years. Under ABA procedures, the HOD can review a change in ABA legal education standards twice but the Council can still enact it without HOD concurrence.

The safety-in-schools resolution would put the ABA on record as opposing laws that authorize teachers, principals or other non-security school personnel to possess a firearm in or nearby a pre-K through grade-12 school. The proposal also urges banning public funds for firearms training for teachers, principals or other non-security personnel, or for firearm purchases for those individuals.

Other resolutions range from ensuring the accuracy of criminal records to rescinding the administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policies. 

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