USD School of Law Passage Rate on July 2017 Bar Exam Again Greatly Exceeds State Averages

Members of the Class of 2017 at the Bar Swearing-In celebratory luncheon held in December 2017.

San Diego (January 22, 2018) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law graduates continue to improve their performance on the California bar examination.  78.4% of the Class of 2017 passed the bar exam on their first attempt, making USD’s passage rate the eighth highest among all California law schools, 8% higher than the passage rate for first-time takers from California ABA-accredited law schools, and 26% above the rate for all first-time takers.

Since 2011, USD School of Law has allocated increased academic and financial resources towards improving bar passage results. New courses have been introduced, including the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) Review and Fundamentals of Bar Exam Writing courses. Most USD students are now taking one or both of these courses during their final year of law school. The MBE course, developed by Professor Ted Sichelman, utilizes questions from previous exams licensed from NCBE, innovative teaching materials developed by USD faculty, and customized online software to help track each student’s strengths and weaknesses in substantive areas of the law tested on the bar exam. The Fundamentals of Bar Exam Writing course focuses on improving students’ essay writing and performance test skills through practice and simulated testing.

USD’s holistic approach to bar preparation also includes specialized bar skills workshops offered by the Academic Success Resource Center, as well as one-on-one advising with the Center’s experienced faculty. The One & Done campaign, introduced in 2015, encourages active, consistent student engagement in bar exam planning and preparation through curricular offerings and informational programs beginning in the first year of law school.

“Our faculty is strongly committed to preparing our students both to be successful lawyers and to pass the bar exam on their first attempt,” said Dean Stephen Ferruolo. “The results of the July 2017 bar exam, especially our graduates’ mean score, which was fifth highest among all California law schools, convinces me that our investment is paying off. We are not done, and are planning to commit additional resources both to curricular innovation and the Academic Success Resource Center. I am confident that these improved bar passage rates will have a positive impact on our graduates’ employment prospects.”

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 20th nationally and 4th on the West Coast in past-year 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.


Katie Pinto
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