Paul L. Caron

Friday, March 30, 2018

Bar Pass Rate Bonanza: The 'Ultimate' Law School Rankings

Following up on my previous posts:, Bar Pass Rate Bonanza: The 'Ultimate' Law School Rankings:

Today, we’re looking at what’s dubbed the “ultimate bar pass rate.” For the first time, the ABA has released the information, which is the percentage of a school’s graduates who passed the bar within two years of graduation. Unlike first-time bar pass rate, the ultimate pass rate captures graduates who may have failed the exam on their initial attempt, but passed on their second or third tries. Nationwide, nearly 88 percent of 2015 grads passed the exam within two years. Baylor University School of Law posted the highest ultimate bar pass rate—all 109 of its bar takers passed in that time period.

Top 10

The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law had the lowest ultimate bar pass rate in 2015, at just under 57 percent.

But not every law graduate takes the bar. The chart also shows which schools had the highest percentage of graduates who didn’t take the exam within two years. One-third of 2015 graduates from Southern University Law Center didn’t take the bar—the most of any school, according to the ABA data.

Top 10(a)

Finally, we break down which law schools seem to have a hard time figuring out how their graduates fared on the all-important licensing exam. We’ve listed the schools according to the percentage of their 2015 class for which they reported no bar pass information to the ABA. Detroit Mercy is tops in this category, with data missing for 24 percent of that class.

Bottom 10(a)

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My comment addresses two matters about Detroit Mercy Law: first our low bar pass rate for the graduating class of 2015 and second, the high percentage of graduates "with no info."

The information provided by the ABA covers 2016 and 2017 in addition to 2015. While our ultimate bar pass rate in 2015 is the lowest, our bar pass rates for first-time takers in 2016 and 2017 is much higher. In 2016 we rank 49 and in 2017 we rank 71. That shows positive progress.

Here is the explanation for the 24% Detroit Mercy Law 2015 grads classified as "graduates with No Info." We have a dual JD program with the University of Windsor Faculty of Law through which students receive both a US JD and a Canadian JD in three years. Close to 45% of our student body is in the Dual JD program. The vast majority of students in the Dual JD program are Canadians who, upon graduation, take the Canadian bars (solicitor and barrister) in order to practice in Canada. The ABA does not ask about graduates who take non-US bar exams.
The ABA stats show a lack of information about so many of our graduates because they are largely Dual JD graduates. For the class of 2015 31 of the 37 (86%) are Dual JD graduates who did not take a US bar exam. This is true for later years as well: for the class of 2017 53 of the 57 (93%) are Dual JD graduates; for the class of 2016, 44 of the 48(92%) are Dual JD graduates.
Phyllis L. Crocker (Dean)

Posted by: Phyllis L Crocker | Apr 2, 2018 11:28:51 AM