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Arizona Summit Law School Has Second-Lowest Two-Year Bar Passage Rates
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Arizona Summit Law

Summary: Newly released ABA data has Arizona Summit Law School at the second-lowest for passage rates for graduates within two years of graduation.

Arizona Summit Law School just can’t seem to improve their numbers. According to data from the American Bar Association, the law school is the second lowest in the country in the number of graduates that pass the bar exam within two years of graduation.


The private law school in Phoenix put on probation by the American Bar Association roughly a year ago for noncompliance in their passage rates and finances. Their 2015 graduates had the second-lowest passage rate on the bar exam in the entire country, according to AZ Central.

The ABA has been working to increase transparency by putting a list of schools not in compliance on their website and by releasing more complete data. The newly released data on Thursday is a first time “ultimate” bar passage rates, looking at the number of graduates who pass the exam within two years of graduation on their first try or subsequent attempts. The ABA used to only release rates on those who pass the exam on their first attempt.

There are 202 ABA-approved law schools, of which Arizona Summit ranked 201st on the two-year passage rate. Arizona Summit had a rate of 60 percent. The average for all schools was 88 percent. The only school to score lower than Arizona Summit was the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, a private Catholic school. Their passage rate was 56 percent.

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ABA managing director of accreditation and legal education, Barry Currier, explained that the data represents how a school’s students are doing after a two-year period. The two-year passage rates are not going to be used to determine if a law school is in compliance with ABA standards. Currier said, “But these reports provide important consumer information for students considering whether and where to attend law school and for others with an interest in legal education.”

The ultimate bar passage rates are valuable because they include the data from students who don’t pass the exam after their first attempt but attempt to pass at another time. Most states require law school graduates to pass the bar exam at some point if they wish to practice law.

The school reports that their overall passage rate is 75 percent. Arizona Summit Law President Don Lively explained, “We do bring in people who are in catch-up mode due to either economic or historical disadvantages. So it’s not surprising they need more than one opportunity to pass the bar examination, and ABA standards accommodate that.”

The ABA put the law school on probation a year ago for bar exam passage rate issues and kept them on probation in January for issues with their finances. If the school loses accreditation, their graduates are not able to sit for the bar exam in Arizona or many other states. In recent years, the school’s rates have dropped dramatically with the October results showing that only 25 percent of their graduates passed the bar on the first attempt.

The school has allegedly raised their admission standards, including a higher grade point average and higher scores on the Law School Admission Test from incoming students.

Do you think Arizona Summit Law School can do enough to save itself? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about Arizona Summit, read these articles:




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