USD School of Law Dean Stephen C. Ferruolo Testifies at Hearing to Review Declining Bar Passage Rate

San Francisco (February 17, 2017) – On Tuesday, February 14, University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Dean Stephen C. Ferruolo testified before the California Assembly Judiciary Committee at a hearing to review the declining bar exam passage rate for the State of California, which, on the July 2016 exam, dropped to 62 percent for first-time takers from ABA-accredited law schools.

On February 1, 20 of the 21 deans, including Ferruolo, of ABA accredited law schools in California signed a letter that was submitted to the Justices on the California Supreme Court to “request the Court exercise its legal jurisdiction over the California State Bar to adjust its scoring methods to bring them in line with the nation’s at large.”

While the Court has not responded publicly, the letter caught the attention of the California Assembly Judiciary, who then called Tuesday’s hearing to review the low bar passage rate as well as study the complexities of law school admissions and testing.

In an article published Tuesday by The Recorder, Ferruolo is quoted as saying “The effect of this low bar passage rate is to put our students and our law schools at a competitive disadvantage. The low bar passage rate is also, I believe, adversely impacting the quality of the California bar and the preparedness of California lawyers.”

Watch the recorded webcast of the hearing here.

Click the download attachment button to read the full Recorder article.

About Dean Stephen C. Ferruolo

Dean Ferruolo is dean and professor of law at University of San Diego School of Law, where he teaches in the areas of business, corporate and biotech law. He advises USD's National Transactional LawMeet® team and teaches the in-house corporate counsel seminar and first-year experiential advocacy practicum.

Ferruolo graduated magna cum laude from Wesleyan University, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned an MPhil degree in Medieval European History, and also holds MA and PhD degrees in History from Princeton University.  He earned his JD degree at Stanford Law School, where he graduated with honors. Ferruolo is a member of the Order of the Coif.

Ferruolo clerked for the Honorable Bruce M. Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.  He served as the founding partner and chair of the San Diego office of Goodwin Procter LLP. Ferruolo was also a partner and co-chair of the Corporate/VLG Practice Group at Heller Ehrman LLP in its Palo Alto, Calif. and San Diego offices. From 2003 to 2011, he served as vice president and general counsel of BIOCOM, the world’s largest regional life sciences association, and then as its vice chairman from 2011 to 2014.

Ferruolo was named dean of USD School of Law and joined the faculty in 2011. From 1979 to 1987, he taught history as an assistant professor at Stanford University.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

The University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 35th nationally and 6th on the West Coast among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 24th nationally and 6th on the West Coast in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.

Dean Stephen C. Ferruolo

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Katie Pinto
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