JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF LAW SCHOOL REGULATION

Contact: Laura Ernde 

415-538-2283

laura.ernde@calbar.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 19, 2013 – A federal judge has tentatively upheld the Committee of Bar Examiners’ right to require California-accredited law schools to disclose information about bar exam pass rates of graduates.

U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna on Friday tentatively dismissed a lawsuit brought by Southern California Institute of Law. The school is not contesting the tentative ruling.

The committee requires California-accredited law schools to post bar passage information on their websites or publish a link to statistics maintained on the State Bar’s website.

The Ventura-based law school argued the regulation violated its free-speech rights, saying the quality of a law school education should not be linked to the performance of its graduates on the bar exam.

But Selna’s ruling said that since the law school chose to obtain accreditation it may also be subject to certain rules. The court held that the information is factual and uncontroversial and prospective students are free to draw their own conclusions about its relevance.

“The decision vindicates the bar’s regulatory authority over these schools,” said Sean McCoy, chair of the Committee of Bar Examiners. “It’s our responsibility to use that authority in a way that protects the integrity of the profession and protects the public.”

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The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. By August 2013, membership reached 244,000.