UD law school students pass bar exam at lowest rate in the state

Low bar exam passage among University of Dayton’s law school graduates has officials at the school looking at ways to improve what is the lowest rate among Ohio’s nine law schools.

Fifty-eight percent of UD graduates who took the bar exam in July passed, according to the Ohio Supreme Court. Ohio State University had the highest rate at 87 percent passing.

A Dayton Daily News analysis of a decade’s worth of bar exam data shows UD’s passage rate has declined by 29 percent among all test takers and first-time test takers since 2008 when the school had an 87 percent passage rate. During that time, the bar passage rate among students at Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati have remained nearly the same.

Law students must pass the bar exam in order to become practicing attorneys.

UD and the University of Toledo had the lowest July bar exam pass rate among its graduates compared to all test takers in Ohio. UD ranked last among its first-time test takers with 63 percent passing.

Ohio Northern University was the only law school in Ohio where the bar passage rate has changed as much as UD’s over the past decade, dropping 9 points. ONU officials declined to comment for this story.

UD’s passage rate has prompted its law school to roll out new programs and offerings to remain competitive among the state’s nine law schools and another that is considered a competitor for enrollment, Northern Kentucky University.

In the last two years since Andrew Strauss, dean of UD’s law school, arrived at UD, the school has implemented an early alert system to flag troubled students and has changed the structure of its bar exam preparation course. It also now requires students to take the prep-class. The university also recently announced a new five-year program, which shortens by two years the length of time typically required to earn both a bachelor’s degree and law degree.

The goal of the initiatives is to help struggling students while also attracting higher performing law students…

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