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University of Kansas law graduates outperform peers on bar exam

Friday, October 02, 2015

UPDATE (Jan. 9, 2017): The American Bar Association released complete 2015 bar passage data in December 2016. Among the 205 ABA-approved law schools, KU Law finished sixth for composite pass rate – just behind Harvard Law School and ahead of the University of Virginia School of Law. 

LAWRENCE – University of Kansas School of Law graduates in the Class of 2015 passed the bar examination in Kansas and Missouri at rates that far exceeded state averages. They also ranked first among all Kansas and Missouri law schools for performance on the Missouri exam.

The American Bar Association released complete 2015 bar passage data in December 2016. Among the 205 ABA-approved law schools, KU Law finished 6th for composite pass rate – just behind Harvard Law School and ahead of the University of Virginia School of Law.

KU graduates taking the Kansas bar exam for the first time in July 2015 achieved a 91.6 percent pass rate, surpassing by a staggering 10.6 percent the state pass rate of 81 percent.

Alumni performed even better in the state of Missouri, where 94.7 percent of KU test-takers passed the bar on their first attempt. That showing outpaces by 8 percent the state average of 86.7 percent. With this outcome, KU ranked No. 1 among all law schools in Kansas and Missouri whose graduates sat for the July 2015 bar exam in high numbers, including the University of Missouri, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, St. Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis and Washburn University.

“We are thrilled by the extraordinary success of our hard-working 2015 graduates,” said Stephen Mazza, dean of the law school. “Our students have consistently exceeded the state average when it comes to passing the bar exam – the essential first step for any graduate seeking to practice law.”

Twenty-two out of 24 first-time test-takers passed the Kansas bar, while 71 out of 75 passed the Missouri bar. While in most years the majority of KU students sit for the bar exam in Kansas, the 2015 class opted for the Missouri exam at a higher rate. This anomaly was driven by Kansas’ pending adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam, which will allow graduates who took the bar in Missouri to become licensed in Kansas by transferring their scores.

The bar examination is a test intended to determine whether candidates are qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction. The bar exam is administered twice a year, in February and July. Most students graduate in May and take the summer exam.

The Kansas Board of Law Examiners does not provide details about the performance of other law schools.

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