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ABA First-Time Test Taker Data Gives More Complete Look at Law School Data
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Summary: A change to the data released by the American Bar Association is providing a more timely and accurate depiction of how law school graduates handle the bar exam.

The American Bar Association has changed what data they release, providing a more comprehensive report of where law school graduates stand. The newly released data shows which law schools have graduates passing the bar exam and which law schools are struggling, according to


The ABA has transformed the timing and format of the data they collect and release on bar passage rates in an attempt to get the critical information out to the public faster. This data can help prospective students decide which law schools to attend by being able to examine more complete data. Bar exam passage rates are one of the top factors that prospective law students consider when deciding on a law school to attend, along with employment statistics and graduate debt amounts.

Managing Director of Accreditation and Legal Education Barry Currier stated in a news release, “This report is not a compliance report for ABA Standard 316, which sets the standard for bar passage. That is a separate and distinct matter. But these reports provide important consumer information for students considering whether and where to attend law school and for others with an interest in legal education.”

Looking at the most recent date from law school graduates who took the bar exam for the first time last year, the University of Chicago had overwhelming high numbers. The overall for 2017’s first-time bar takers was 77.2 percent, a strong number, and up roughly 3 percent from 2016. The University of Chicago law school had a staggering 98.58 percent. Other top scores were from Yale at 98.12 percent, Duke at 97.65 percent, NYU at 97.44 percent and Harvard at 96.74 percent.

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Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!! further broke down the data by state, showing which schools fared better and worse than the average in their state. The ABA puts together the bar pass averages from the states where the most of each law school’s graduates take the bar exam. They adjust that number based on the number of graduates from individual schools who take the bar exam in each state. The figure “Average State Pass Percent” shows what each law school should have received as a first-time pass rate score based on statewide averages.

Dividing up the results by state paints a different picture. The average across all states was 74.99 percent. The state of Oklahoma boasted the highest pass rate for first-time exam takers at 86.90 percent. The state with the lowest score was Mississippi at 63.95 percent.

Does dividing up the data by state or jurisdiction affect how you see the numbers and law school results? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about bar exam passage rates, read these articles:




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