State Bar Urged To Require Unaccredited Law Schools To Disclose Graduation, Dropout Rates

by Jason Song, Los Angeles Times

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Legislators and legal experts are urging California bar officials to require the state’s unaccredited law schools to be more transparent to give prospective students a better idea of their chances of becoming an attorney.

The proposed changes, which include the disclosure of such information as dropout rates and alumni employment, would mirror similar changes made by nationally accredited law schools such as UCLA and USC.

The proposals come after a Times investigation last month showed that nearly 9 out of 10 students at those schools dropped out before their final year of study. About 1 in 5 unaccredited law school students who finish these programs pass the bar each year, according to state statistics.

Currently, the state’s 22 unaccredited law schools are not required to disclose the number of graduates who get jobs in the legal field. The schools report the number of dropouts in annual reports to the state bar that are available only upon request and not readily available to the public.

“I think [disclosing data] is something that could be easily done that would be of great benefit to consumers,” said state Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego), who said he would introduce legislation requiring the disclosures in the next legislative session. “You should know what you’re getting into.”

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