The Importance of Bar Studies

By: Ashley M. London, Associate Director of Bar Studies, Assistant Professor of Clinical Legal Skills

For most law students, passing the bar examination and obtaining a license to practice law in the jurisdiction of their choice is the end goal of their law school journey.

Even with the rise in J.D.-preferred jobs on the market, there is nothing quite like getting the notification that you have passed the bar exam and are now an officer of the court who can represent clients and solve real-life problems.

First-time bar passage is even more important to today's law students who are looking to secure employment soon after graduation. That's why Duquesne University School of Law puts such an emphasis on bar preparation from the moment students step onto campus.

Duquesne Law has been offering comprehensive bar preparation programming since 2006. Law school leadership recognized that not only is there a financial incentive for first-time bar passage success, but there also exists an ethical and moral imperative to assist students in achieving their goals. Since that time, Duquesne University has invested deeply in the program, as well as providing additional resources in the form of dedicated adjunct faculty members, study aids and financial assistance to underserved students.

Today, the Bar Studies Department at Duquesne Law is not only a source of bar preparation support, but a leader in law school teaching methods, pedagogy, and in-depth statistical analysis with members of the department working in tandem with all of the law professors to deliver the highest-quality classical legal education on the market. Every professor in the law school understands the long-range impact that bar passage success has on our students, graduates, and alumni, and every professor is heavily invested in each student's success.

Duquesne's Recent Bar Pass Stats

While a number of Duquesne's students plan to sit for the Pennsylvania Bar Exam, an increasing number of graduates are electing to sit in a variety of different jurisdictions across the country- from California and Oregon to Massachusetts, New York, Alabama and Florida. The law school justifiably prides itself on its robust bar passage rates in every jurisdiction where its graduates sit for the bar.

In Pennsylvania, Duquesne Law graduates recently achieved an 87.88% first-time pass rate on the July 2019 exam, easily outpacing the statewide average of 80.6%. This impressive showing marks the fourth consecutive year the law school has outperformed the state average.

Additionally, the first-time passage rate for a small cohort of graduates sitting for the February 2020 bar exam hit 100%, an impressive rate only two law schools in the state achieved during that administration.

Ultimate Bar Passage Rate

As the accrediting body of the vast majority of U.S. Law schools, the American Bar Association's guidance on the issue of bar passage is critical not only to the mission of each and every law school, but it helps to ensure students are receiving real value for the cost of a legal education. This is a commitment Duquesne Law is uniquely positioned to support as a Catholic Spiritan institution dedicated to moral, ethical, and spiritual values that include a mission to prepare all of its students for success.

Bolstered by its decades of impressive bar passage success, Duquesne Law is justifiably proud that its Ultimate Bar Passage Rate has exceeded 90% since the requirement to calculate that metric began with the Class of 2015.
In 2020, the Law School reported an ultimate bar passage rate of 93.3%, a number that follows Duquesne's 2018 graduates for the specified two-year period. As well, Duquesne's 2017 graduates posted a bar passage rate of 93.16% and Duquesne's 2016 graduates posted an impressive bar passage rate of 96.7%.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

It's time for bigger goals
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