UMass Law continues bar pass rate success

82.6 percent pass rate demonstrates success just three years after Commonwealth’s only public law school achieved full ABA accreditation

Law students in classroom

According to the latest bar exam results released today by Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners, the UMass Dartmouth-based UMass School of Law outscored the statewide average for the second year in a row, just three years after receiving full American Bar Association accreditation.

On the July 2019 Massachusetts Bar Exam, UMass Law’s pass rate was 82.6 percent for first-time test takers, a key metric in assessing the quality of a school’s academic program. This was fifth behind only Harvard University, Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern University among the nine law schools in Massachusetts. The state average was 81.6 percent.

“As the only public law school in Massachusetts and with a focus on social justice, the importance of UMass Law to the Commonwealth cannot be overstated,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “The success of recent UMass Law graduates is further evidence that accessibility to public higher education is transformational for students and critical to the Commonwealth.”

“Once again, our UMass Law students are outperforming expectations every opportunity they get,” UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson said. “At UMass Law, we are creating high quality and affordable opportunities for people to enter the legal profession with a goal to pursue justice and serve the community. And, we are just getting started.”

“Our graduates continue to excel on the bar exam, and that success is critical because their communities desperately need their knowledge and advocacy skills,” UMass Law Dean Eric Mitnick said. “Of course, this kind of sustained success does not happen without support from talented and committed staff and faculty, and in my view we have the very best here at UMass Law.”

More about UMass Law:

  • UMass Law was established in 2010 and earned full ABA accreditation in 2016.
  • Applications in 2019 increased 20.7% (top 8 of 202 law schools in country); 45.1% increase since 2017; and the 2019 entering class is the strongest academically in the law school’s history.
  • First-year enrollment increased 71% and total enrollment increased 50% since 2016.
  • The school has one of the most diverse student bodies (30.97% students of color) among New England law schools (3d of 15 schools).
  • Every law student is required to perform at least 30 hours of pro bono legal services while in law school (typically graduates average 5X that amount).
  • Since its founding in 2010, UMass Law students have contributed more than 135,000 hours of pro bono legal services to the community.
  • UMass Law has established 3+3 fast-track programs that enable students to earn undergraduate and law degrees in six rather than the typical seven years with twelve Massachusetts undergraduate institutions.
  • Joint degree programs: JD/MBA (UMassD); JD/MPP (UMassD); JD/MSW (Bridgewater State).
  • UMass Law administers legal clinics, providing free legal services to the community, in the areas of community economic development, criminal prosecution, human rights, immigration, and tribal law.
  • Justice Bridge, UMass Law’s access to justice incubator, with offices in New Bedford and Boston, matches seasoned mentors with recent law school graduates to provide legal services to individuals who could not otherwise afford legal representation.  Since its founding in 2014, the program has served thousands of modest means clients in areas such as housing, family, and immigration law.
  • Faculty research has focused on Intellectual Property Law; Law Regulating Drones; Gender Violence; Law & Religion; Marriage Equality; Comparative Law; Freedom of Information Law; Immigration Law; Islamic Law; Privacy Law; Health Law

Recent awards and recognitions include:

  • PreLaw Magazine ranked UMass Law among top schools in country for practical training (2019)
  • Black Students’ Guide to Law Schools ranked UMass Law top 5 in eastern region for black students (2019)
  • UMass Law students selected as Rappaport Fellows, fifth year in row (2019)
  • Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association Public Service Scholarship to UMass Law Student (2018)
  • Massachusetts Bar Association “Public Service Award” to UMass Law (2017)
  • Massachusetts Bar Association Oliver Wendell Holmes $10,000 Scholarship to UMass Law Student (2017)
  • Library of Congress Award (top 10 student law review articles nationally) to UMass Law Student (2017)

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