PHOENIX — Students from a struggling private law school in Phoenix are still having trouble passing the Arizona bar exam, with fewer than 30 percent of graduates earning passing marks.

It is a small improvement for Arizona Summit Law School, the Arizona Republic reported (http://bit.ly/2pWmVlQ). Last year, it had a 25 percent pass rate for first-time test takers.

The Arizona Supreme Court released the state Bar exam results Monday. By comparison, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona law students both had a 74 percent passage rate.

Arizona Summit Law School once had state Bar exam passage rates as high as 97 percent, but that has changed in recent years, the report states.

In March, the American Bar Association put the institution on probation for being out of compliance on exam passage rates, admission, academic standards and support.

The school has made major changes over the past 18 months that have resulted in pass increases, Interim Dean Penny Willrich said.

School officials have said in the past that many of their students are from low-income households that did not have access to a good education system. They see others come to the school in “catch-up mode.”

The school has decreased its the student body and ended a program that accepted students with low Law School Admission Test scores after completing a pre-enrollment program, school officials said recently.

“We are comfortable that Bar examination results will continue to improve and revert to previous levels of excellence,” Willrich said.

The ABA is scheduled to look over the school’s progress in November.


Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.