Law Schools

Boalt Beefs Up Calif. Bar Prep After 2007 Pass Rate Dips to 82 Percent

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Rattled by a pass rate on the California bar exam among its graduates in July 2007 that dipped to 82 percent, one of the state’s most prestigious law schools is focusing on better preparing its students to succeed on the ticket-punching test.

In particular, graduates’ ability to pass the bar will be a primary focus for a new director of academic support who will be starting this fall at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, reports the National Law Journal. Among other measures, Boalt also has started a new pilot program to help third-year students with their bar preparation, according to Christopher Edley Jr., the law school’s dean.

Compared to the overall California bar pass rate for July 2007 of 56.1 percent for all takers, the 82 percent showing by Boalt graduates was by no means shabby. However, the pass rate for Boalt graduates has been between 85 and 94 percent in every other year since 1998, according to the legal publication. California’s bar exam is generally considered one of the most difficult ones in the country.

“Though our first-time pass rates remain markedly higher than the overall pass rate for ABA-accredited law schools, we do not regard the 2007 results as acceptable,” Edley wrote in an April 17 memo to third-year and LL.M students. “We do not yet know whether those results reflect statistical variation or real changes in preparedness among our graduates.”

Kristen Holmquist, who presently holds the same post at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, is the incoming academic support director at Boalt.

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