Wake Forest Law graduates achieve highest N.C. bar exam passage rate

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Wake Forest Law graduates achieved the highest bar exam passage rate of all seven North Carolina law schools with 82.86 percent for the July 2015 exam. The following story, “Wake Forest tops bar pass rates,” was originally published by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly on Nov. 5, 2015. Read the original story here.

The story follows:

While seating fewer examinees than every school except Duke, Wake Forest School of Law graduates achieved the highest pass rate, 82.86 percent, among North Carolina’s seven law schools.

Wake Forest jumped more than 7 percentage points from last year’s mark of 75.49 percent. Fifty-two of the school’s 63 first-timers passed the exam, as did six of seven repeat test-takers, for a total of 58 out of 70.

Twenty-six recent Duke graduates sat for the exam, including one repeater who was again unsuccessful. Of Duke’s 25 first-timers, 21 passed. The school’s overall pass rate was 80.77, nearly identical to last year’s tally of 79.17 percent.

Trailing Duke in pass rate but seating nearly seven times the examinees was UNC, which posted a 78.24 percent rate—133 of 170. Seven of 17 repeat test-takers passed while 126 of 153 first-timers found success.

Campbell School of Law, which lead the state last July with 82.88 percent of examinees passing, dipped slightly to 73.33 percent this year. Ninety-six of 123 Campbell graduates passed the exam on their first attempt; repeaters didn’t fare as well, with nine of 12 examinees failing the exam.

Elon University remained fairly constant, its pass rate rising slightly from 61.18 in 2014 to 64.94. Overall, 50 of 77 test-takers were successful, but only six of 14 (42.86 percent) taking a subsequent examination passed.

Though more than 65 percent of North Carolina Central University graduates sitting for their first bar exam passed (44 of 63), the school’s overall pass rate was dropped significantly by the nearly 75 percent (20 of 27) of repeat examinees who did not.

Charlotte School of Law had the worst showing this time around, with only 39.84 percent of its representatives meeting the bar standard. More of its first-time test-takers failed the exam (90) than passed (80). That first-time 47.06 percent pass rate was further diminished by the more than 76 percent of repeat test-takers who failed (58 of 76).

According to Charlotte spokesman Dallas Bragg, “major initiatives” are underway to address bar preparation, which he said would be revealed in coming days.

All schools combined, the passage rate for North Carolina institutions dipped slightly, to 62.53 percent (544 of 870) from 68.92 percent in 2014. That figure, while offering plenty of room for improvement, was significantly higher than that posted by graduates of out-of-state law schools: 46.76 percent. Of 340 examinees, 181 failed the exam.

Overall, of 1,210 prospective attorneys who sat for July’s exam, 703 (58.10 percent) passed. Par for the course, first-timers scored significantly higher, with a 67.12 percent pass rate (639 of 952) as compared with just 24.81 percent (64 of 258) of subsequent examinees.