When we began operating in 2011, we had a vision: We could use technology to provide an outstanding Juris Doctor program online, making law school more accessible. At the time, we never could have imagined what 2020 would look like — or how critical it would become for students to be able to study through distance learning.
This year has brought many changes to our world, and one critical change to St. Francis. We are pleased to announce St. Francis School of Law has been granted accreditation by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California.
Our Online Learning History
As the first not-for-profit online law school operating in the United States, we have always aligned behind the goal of providing a rigorous education that makes a rewarding legal career attainable to those who need a flexible learning schedule and the ability to attend classes virtually.
“St. Francis has always been, and will continue to be, a leader in innovative legal education,” says St. Francis President Dr. Jill Langen. “At a time when colleges, universities, and law schools over the world are trying to figure out how to do online learning, St. Francis has, for nearly a decade, effectively focused on student success, high-quality curriculum, formative assessment, and practical skills in the online setting.”
The Committee of Bar Examiners’ Accreditation
In California, law schools are approved and accredited by either the American Bar Association (ABA) or the State Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners. Law schools that hold an accreditation from the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California must maintain a 5-year cumulative bar pass rate of 40%. There are also a number of other guidelines and standards law schools that attain this accreditation must uphold in order to stay accredited. You can find a list of law schools that hold this accreditation on the California Bar’s website.
What Does This Accreditation Mean For St. Francis Law Students?
Our innovative law school has always provided small class sizes, accomplished faculty, and impressive pass rates for both the First-Year Law Students Exam and the California General Bar Exam. Now, we are also fully accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. After inspecting St. Francis, the State Bar team recommended immediate accreditation because St. Francis fully complies with the Committee of Bar Examiners’ accreditation standards.
With the exception of slight schedule adjustments and other minor logistical updates, we plan to continue our successful program of legal education unchanged. This includes the low student-to-faculty ratio, live class discussions, and ongoing academic support that have allowed our rigorous law program to serve our students so well to date. New students will start joining the accredited program immediately.
“St. Francis’ focus has always been on pairing excellent doctrinal training with superb preparation for the practice of law,” says Dr. Langen. “Perhaps just as importantly, our graduates find they build relationships with faculty and fellow students that are meaningful and last a lifetime.”