TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, December 29, 2014

July 2014 California Bar Exam Results

California State BarThe July 2014 California bar passage rates by school are out. Here are the results for first time test takers for the 21 California ABA-approved law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (California and overall):

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)

 

School

US News Rank

CA (Overall)

1 (88.3%)

UC-Berkeley

2 (9)

2 (87.6%)

Stanford

1 (3)

3 (86.6%)

USC

4 (20)

4 (85.6%)

UC-Davis

5 (36)

5 (81.7%)

UCLA

3 (16)

6 (79.9%)

Loyola-L.A.

9 (87)

7 (77.7%)

Pepperdine

6 (54)

8 (77.1%)

UC-Irvine

n/r

9 (74.8%)

Chapman

11 (140)

10 (72.7%)

San Diego

8 (79)

11 (71.3%)

California Western

Tier 2

69.4%

Statewide Ave. (CA ABA-Approved)

12 (68.3%)

UC-Hastings

6 (54)

13 (65.5%)

La Verne

n/r

14 (61.4%)

San Francisco

Tier 2

15 (60.5%)

McGeorge

12 (146)

16 (60.4%)

Santa Clara

10 (107)

17 (58.8%)

Western State

Tier 2

18 (54.4%)

Southwestern

Tier 2

19 (44.7%)

Thomas Jefferson

Tier 2

20 (43.8%)

Golden Gate

Tier 2

21 (42.7%)

Whittier

Tier 2

The big story this year is the striking decline in the bar passage rate:

  • First time test takers from ABA-aproved law schools:  down 6.5 percentage points
  • All test takers:  down 7.1 percentage points

These declines are concentrated in the lowest ranked schools:

  • First time test takers at the 5 highest ranked schools:  down 1.5 percentage points
  • First time test takers at the 5 lowest tanked schools:  down 12.3 percentage points

Among the individual law schools, the biggest underperformers in bar passage are:

  • UC-Hastings:  #6 among California law schools in U.S. News (#54 overall), #12 in bar passage (and below the statewide average)
  • UC-Irvine:  its stated goal is to be a Top 20 law school in its inaugural U.S. News ranking to be announced this March, which would place it 4th in the state (tied with USC), but its bar passage rate is only 8th in the state, below UC-Davis, Loyola-L.A., and Pepperdine.  UC-Irvine was also 8th in the state in bar passage in 2013 (again below UC-Davis, Loyola-L.A., and Pepperdine)
  • Santa Clara:  #10 among California law schools in U.S. News (#107 overall), #16 in bar passage (and below the statewide average)
  • UCLA:  #3 among California law schools in U.S. News (#16 overall), #5 in bar passage
  • McGeorge:  #12 among California law schools in U.S. News (#146 overall), #15 in bar passage

Among the individual law schools, the biggest overperformers on bar passage are:

  • Loyola-L.A.:  #9 among California law schools in U.S. News (#87 overall), #6 in bar passage
  • Chapman:  #11 among California law schools in U.S. News (#140 overall), #9 in bar passage
  • California Western:  Tier 2 in U.S. News, 11th in bar passage
  • La Verne:  unranked in U.S. News, 13th in bar passage

Here are the out-of-state schools with the highest and lowest pass rates:

  • 97.1%:  Michigan (35 test-takers)
  • 96.7%:  Duke (30)
  • 92.6%:  Pennsylvania (27)
  • 90.0%:  William & Mary (10)
  • 89.5%:  Boston University (19)
  • 87.9%:  Harvard (91)
  • 87.0%:  BYU (23)
  • 86.7%:  Cornell (15)
  • 20.0%:  Hofstra (5)
  • 14.2%:   Case Western(7)
  • 6.3%:    Thomas Cooley (16)
  • 0.0%:   Loyola=New Orleans (6), Phoenix (13), Seattle (5)

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2014/12/july-2014-california-bar-.html

Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

Would you post a single list with both ABA and non-ABA accredited schools from top to bottom on the bar passage?

Posted by: Mark P. Yablon | Dec 29, 2014 11:56:13 PM

How do Stanford & Berkley graduate 12% of their respective classes without the ability to do something that 77% of the graduates from U.C.-Irvine can do? Maybe Stanford/Berkley need to have a convo with Michigan or Duke about preparing students for the CA bar exam.

Posted by: John S. Treu | Dec 31, 2014 2:51:45 PM

1) Sample sizes (for the other end, see Yale)
2) Stanford students have less time to study because they graduate a month later than other students
3) A Duke/Mich student writing the bar is not a median Duke/Mich student -- they're probably taking the CA bar after securing employment in a very competitive state. But Berk/SLS students are more likely to take the CA bar if they don't have anything lined up. I haven't looked at the data on this but I'd be surprised if there was no effect here.

Posted by: baristo | Jan 1, 2015 11:54:10 AM

Thanks for posting this info. I would also be interested in seeing the remainder of the list for out-of-state schools with grads taking the CA bar, if you are willing & able to share that info. Thanks much!

Posted by: Chris Osborn | Jan 19, 2015 11:39:26 AM

Chris -- for the complete list of out of state schools with 10 or more takers, click on the first link above, pages 8-10.

Posted by: Hugh | Jan 20, 2015 8:03:37 AM