Bar Exam

Newly released bar-pass rates show little movement; which law schools did best?

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Updated: The bar pass rate for 2016 law grads who sat for the exam within two years of graduating is 88.57%, according to ABA data released Friday.

Updated statistics released on April 25 put the bar pass rate at 88.64%.

The data is for graduates of ABA-accredited law schools, according to a press release. The percentage is substantially the same as for 2015 law grads, who had an 88.49% bar pass rate within two years.

The bar pass rate for first-time takers of the exam in 2018 was 74.82%, compared to 77.34% in 2017, according to the press release.

Four law schools had a 100% bar pass rate. They are the University of Chicago Law School, Yale Law School, the Concordia University School of Law and the University of Wisconsin Law School.

The Wisconsin data stems from the state’s diploma privilege, which allows graduates of ABA-accredited law schools in the state to skip the bar exam. Concordia had only 25 graduates, and all 24 grads who took the exam passed. The ABA granted full accreditation approval to Concordia this year.

The school with the lowest bar pass rate was Arizona Summit Law School, with a 50% pass rate for those who sat for the exam within two years. The ABA has put the law school on a teach-out plan that calls for closure for the end of spring 2020.

The data shows that 97% of all graduates sat for a bar exam within two years of graduation, and that schools were able to track 98.5% of graduates.

Individual school bar pass rates are available on a legal education statistics webpage maintained by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

The ABA House of Delegates rejected a proposal in January that would have tightened the bar passage standard for ABA-accredited law schools. The proposal called for at least 75 percent of a law school’s graduates to pass a bar exam within two years of graduation.

More than 20 law schools in the ABA data would not have met the proposed standard.

Schools currently have multiple ways to meet bar passage standards. One way is to achieve a 75% bar passage rate, measured by a longer and more flexible time period. Another measures law school performance against the average in their jurisdictions.

Updated on April 29 to reflect latest statistics.

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