The American Bar Association’s ultimate bar pass rate–the percent of law school graduates who pass the bar exam within two years of graduation–is one of the best measures of the quality of a law school’s legal education.
UMass Law has achieved a 91.8% ultimate bar pass rate for the Class of 2018, up from 89.8% for the Class of 2017, which ranked fifth among the eight ABA-accredited MA law schools. The national average ultimate bar pass rate for the Class of 2017 was 89.4%. The national average for the Class of 2018 will be released by the ABA this spring.
The ABA requirement for law school bar pass rates is contained in ABA Standard 316, which reads:
“At least 75 percent of a law school’s graduates in a calendar year who sat for a bar examination must have passed a bar examination administered within two years of their date of graduation.”
ABA Standard 316 reflects the more stringent standard adopted in 2019 by the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
“The ultimate bar pass rate is especially meaningful because it provides a means of understanding a law school’s bar exam performance across all jurisdictions and administrations of the bar exam,” said UMass Law Dean Eric Mitnick. “We have an outstanding and extensive bar exam preparation program at UMass Law. These results, combined with our graduates’ employment outcomes, demonstrate that we are not just more affordable, we also outperform in the two most critical areas: bar passage and employment.”
Reflecting the law school’s outperformance in bar passage and employment outcomes, UMass Law recently ranked third among all law schools in New England, behind only Harvard and Yale, and #25 in the nation in the “value-added” ranking of law schools. This year, UMass Law was ranked third in MA and fifth in New England by preLaw Magazine for practical training and was named to the publication’s Employment Honor Roll for the Class of 2019 employment rate. From 2014-2019, UMass Law also ranked first in MA and New England for the percent of graduates in public service jobs (27%).