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Thursday, March 27, 2008

U.S. News-Related Question

Should students look at bar passage rates (relative to a pertinent jurisdiction) in deciding whether to attend a particular law school? From reading some of the comments to Dan Solove's U.S. News rankings post here, it seems that some students do.  I suspect, though, that one's likelihood of passing the bar is probably mostly explained by things the student already knows about himself before picking a law school, like his college GPA and LSAT scores.  Has anyone ever examined how much law student bar passage rates are explained by pre-law school variables relative to, say, the U.S. News ranking of the law school from which the student graduates?

Posted by Adam Kolber on March 27, 2008 at 10:40 AM | Permalink


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For students with the "numbers" to be accepted by a Tier 1 or 2 school, it probably does not matter that much. However, Tier 3 & 4 schools have bar passage results that differ greatly among the many Tier 3 or 4 schools within a state. Knowing that most of the students at such schools had LSAT/GPA numbers within a certain range, enabling a student to be accepted by only a Tier 4 school, for example, why wouldn't that student choose a Tier 4 school with a consistently above-average passage rate over a Tier 4 school with a consistently average or below-average passage rate?
I suspect that the prelaw variables explain many students' passage rates, especially for the students with high prelaw numbers. But for those on the edge at the bottom, choosing a school that has shown better rates of passage than others would seem to be wise.

Posted by: Aspiring Prof | Mar 27, 2008 12:05:07 PM

The bar passage rate measure is most useful in determining how bad the bottom of a class is. In most jurisdictions, most people pass, even from most of the worst schools, and it is a pass-fail test. So a school can graduate some great people, but if they also let the bottom of the barrel slide by they will do poorly. If everyone in the class is pretty average, everyone should pass.

Posted by: Jimmy | Mar 27, 2008 11:47:30 AM

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