National Jurist magazine has ranked the School of Law No. 22 out of approximately 200 American Bar Association (ABA) approved law schools in the nation for preparing its students for the rigorous bar exam.
In its February cover story, Who are Bar Exam’s Biggest Stars?, National Jurist outlines how it evaluated the bar exam pass rates for all ABA-approved law schools and compared the results with statewide averages to identify schools that outperform what their students’ incoming LSAT scores would predict. Duquesne, with the exception of Widener University, holds the highest ranking among all Pennsylvania law schools and is ranked ahead of law schools including Yale, William and Mary, Pepperdine and Vanderbilt, among others.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized by the National Jurist for our students’ outstanding performance on bar exams, but the results are not entirely surprising to those of us who are privileged to see the hard work and dedication that characterize our law school community,” said Law Dean Ken Gormley.
National Jurist employed a statistical analysis using each school’s LSAT at the 25th percentile (to account for students most likely to fail the bar exam) and the ratio of graduates who passed the bar exam compared to the state averages for 2009 and 2010.
“Our school’s success on the bar exam is a testament to the joint efforts of our faculty, administration, staff and students who, we feel, are capable of performing at the highest levels of professional excellence and who can compete with graduates from the very best law schools across the United States,” said Gormley.
According to Law Professor Richard Gaffney, director of bar services for the law school, the National Jurist ranking was the product of diligent preparation, beginning with the first-year core courses and continuing through the law school’s comprehensive Bar Examination Preparation program, which was instituted by the faculty in 2006.
The program includes a year-long course and a separate spring semester course, both of which are designed to optimize student performance on the multiple choice and essay components of the bar exam. Since its inception, Duquesne’s First-Time Bar Pass Rate has increased from a rolling 10-year average of 75% to a 5-year average of 90%.
“As nice as it is to receive recognition from the National Jurist for our bar success, it’s even more gratifying to know that the overwhelming majority of our graduates are able to pass the bar exam on their first attempt,” said Gormley. “This allows them to move seamlessly from Law School into their chosen profession, serving others through the practice of law in both the public and private sectors.”