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Bar passage revisions fail, as other policies advance

The American Bar Association House of Delegates (HOD) approved nearly 30 new policy statements on Jan. 28 at its session of the Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas, approving a range of resolutions on such issues as gun safety, immigration and  law practice matters. 

But the House rejected a proposal for a major change to the bar passage standard for U.S. law schools that would have required 75 percent of a law school’s graduates who sit for the bar to pass it within two years.

The HOD, the ABA’s policy-making body, met on the final day of the ABA Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas in a session punctuated by spirited debate. The most contentious was over Resolution 105, the proposal to change the  standard for bar passage rates, which lost by a 88-334 vote.

After the rejection, theCouncil of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, issued a statement outlining its options. Under ABA rules and procedures, according to Barry Currier, managing director for the ABA law school accreditation process, the council could abandon the effort to revise the bar passage standard; propose a different revision; or reaffirm and implement the changes without HOD approval. The council is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accreditor of the nation’s 203 ABA-approved law schools and operates as an independent arm of the ABA.

The HOD passed Resolution 106A that puts 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 high school. The new policy also urges banning public funds for firearms training for teachers, principals or other non-security personnel or for firearm purchases for those individuals.

The delegates also approved two resolutions stemming from recent news. Resolution 10B condemns  shutdowns of the federal government for impairing the legal system, and Resolution 10C opposes both withholding congressionally appropriated funds for disaster relief and recovery and diverting these funds for other purposes.

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