Calling it a “comprehensive report,” the American Bar Association released a series of spreadsheets March 22 which presented the ultimate two-year bar passage rate for 2015 graduates as well as the bar passage rates for first-time takers in 2016 and 2017 from each accredited law school.
Previously, the first-time bar passage outcomes were reported on a school-by-school basis. This is the first time the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has released both first-time and ultimate passage rates in this form.
The aggregate information for 2015 provides the total number of graduates from each law school along with the number of those who took and then passed the bar exam within two years. Missing from the 2015 report was the information that had been previously collected on the Standard 509 reports, namely the percentage of the graduates who were successful the first time taking the test and the states were the most graduates from each law school sat for the bar.
Nationwide, 37,484 graduates in the Class of 2015 took a bar exam and by 2017, a total of 32,923 had successful tackled the test for a pass percentage of 87.83 percent.
Among Indiana law schools, the two-year bar passage rates for the 2015 graduates were:
• Indiana University Maurer School of Law — 85.48 percent
• Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law — 83.48 percent
• Notre Dame Law School — 97.19 percent
• Valparaiso Law School — 69.35 percent
In 2017, the ABA Section removed the bar passage totals from the Standard 509 Consumer Information Reports that law schools submit annually. Now the educational institutions are required to complete a separate report, filed in February, on bar exam outcomes. In addition, for the first time, the schools were asked to provide the two-year passage rate for the 2015 graduates.
“This information is being made public, aggregately, as a matter of consumer information under ABA Standard 509,” said Barry Currier, the section’s managing director. He said the reports “provide important consumer information for students considering whether and where to attend law school and for others with an interest in legal education.”
The ABA expects to continue this reporting and next year will present the two-year bar exam results for the 2016 graduates.
Currently, the ABA spreadsheets do contain the first-time bar passage rate for the law school graduates who took the bar exam in 2016 and for those who sat in 2017. However, the tabulation mixes in first-time takers from prior years, so it is unclear how the classes of 2016 and of 2017 fared the first time they took the test.
The passage rate for 2016 first-time takers from Indiana law schools were:
• IU Maurer — 85.56 percent
• IU McKinney — 68.47 percent
• Notre Dame — 80.59 percent
• Valparaiso — 49.31 percent
The passage rate for 2017 first-time takers from Indiana law schools were:
• IU Maurer — 81.44 percent
• IU McKinney — 69.58 percent
• Notre Dame — 89.29 percent
• Valparaiso — 46.60 percent
The data for the 2016 and 2017 outcomes did include the jurisdictional information as was collected in the past Standard 509 reports. The passage rates were broken down by the most common states where graduates from each law school took the bar exam.
Among the Indiana law schools, the 2016 bar passage outcomes by jurisdiction were:
• Indiana — 88.41 percent
• Illinois — 86.67 percent
• New York — 72.22 percent
• Indiana — 68.39 percent
• Illinois — 89.74 percent
• California — 73.08 percent
• New York — 76 percent
• Indiana — 81.82 percent
• Indiana — 63.89 percent
• Illinois — 40 percent
Among the Indiana law schools, the 2017 bar passage outcomes by jurisdiction were:
• Indiana — 86.49 percent
• Illinois — 100 percent
• New York— 80 percent
• Indiana — 69.35 percent
• Illinois — 84.09 percent
• California — 92 percent
• New York — 86.96 percent
• Indiana — 88.24 percent
• Florida — 100 percent
• Indiana — 46.81 percent
• Illinois — 39.13 percent