Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s President and Dean, Don LeDuc, publishes commentaries on our website about the Law School, legal education, legal employment, and related topics. This post summarizes President LeDuc’s updated commentary that teaches us about the ABA’s bar exam passage rate standards and demonstrates that the Law School continues to exceed those standards.
Much has been written recently about ABA bar exam passage rate standards. Because so many of the commentators are ill-informed about how the standards work, WMU-Cooley President and Dean Don LeDuc has published a commentary on the topic. He clearly demonstrates how WMU-Cooley meets the ABA standards.
ABA Standard 316 provides two alternative criteria to determine bar passage compliance by a school. If either is met, the school complies with the standard. WMU-Cooley of course meets both criteria.
The Ultimate Pass Standard is met if (1) cumulatively across the last five calendar years, 75% of the school’s graduates sitting for a bar exam passed it or (2) during any three of the last five calendar years, 75% of the school’s graduates sitting for a bar exam passed it. The relevant time period is 2010-2014, as the 2015 bar results are not final.
On the Michigan bar, WMU-Cooley surpassed the 75% standard every year, with the highest ultimate rate being achieved by the 2010 cohort of students at 94%. Further, our 85% cumulative rate for 2010-14 well exceeds the requirement. And across for all jurisdictions, we have surpassed 75% in four of the last five years, and our cumulative ultimate rate of 81% is well above the standard.
The First-Time Pass Standard is met if, during any three of the last five calendar years, the school’s annual first-time bar passage rate in its jurisdictions is no more than 15 points below the average first-time bar passage rates for graduates of ABA-approved law schools taking the bar examination in the same jurisdictions. This standard recognizes that the states differ on how hard to grade the bar exam.
We surpassed this standard in each of the five years.
Although we meet the ABA requirements, WMU-Cooley strongly desires to see improvement in our students’ bar passage rates. We are actively working to accomplish that goal.
Click here for all of President LeDuc’s commentaries.
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