Hoosier law schools post mixed results in ABA bar passage report

Two Indiana law schools recorded an uptick in the ultimate bar passage rates for their graduates who first took the licensing exam in 2019, mirroring a similar improvement in the aggregate data the American Bar Association compiled for all law schools.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Notre Dame Law School had 2019 ultimate pass rates of 93.68% and 97.37%, respectively. This compares to the 2018 ultimate pass rate of 90.54% for IU Maurer and 96.02% for Notre Dame.

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law charted a slight decline, dropping to an ultimate pass rate of 86.97% for 2019 from 87.61% for 2018.

The ultimate bar passage rate measures the success of all graduates who sat for a bar within two years of first taking the exam. Primarily, as with all ultimate passage rates, the 2019 results show the success of the 2019 graduates, but mixed in are the graduates from prior years who did not first sit for the bar until 2019.

Overall, according to the ABA, the 2019 ultimate passage rate was 91.17%, up from 89.99% for 2018.

Also, IU McKinney and Notre Dame bucked the national trend of a declining passage rate for the 2021 first-time takers. The ABA noted 2021 takers achieved a pass rate of 79.86%, a 4-percentage point drop from the 82.83% pass rate for 2020.

IU McKinney recorded a pass rate of 77.68% for 2021, an improvement from 77.16% in 2020 while Notre Dame rose to a passage rate of 90.67% last year from 89.01% the prior year.

IU Maurer slipped to a 89.61% pass rate in 2021 from 90.71% in 2020.

Bill Adams, managing director of ABA accreditation and legal education, explained the bar passage scores represent one of the best measures to determine if a particular law school is offering a rigorous program in legal education to its students.

“As with past years, this information was reported to the ABA by law schools and is being made public as a matter of consumer information under the authority of ABA Standard 509,” Adams said in a press release. “These public reports provide important consumer information for students considering whether and where to attend law school and for others with an interest in legal education.”

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