Knoxville, Tenn., Jan. 13 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law topped The National Jurist’s list of best law schools for bar preparation, recently published in the magazine’s Winter 2017 issue. To compile the list, The National Jurist compared bar pass rates to incoming LSAT scores and found that some law schools’ graduates perform far better than their scores would predict.
“I credit our top-notch faculty and staff and our sound curriculum, including our robust academic success and bar preparation program, which provides guidance and support for all students,” LMU Law Dean Gary R. Wade said. “At LMU Law, we emphasize the importance of training our students to be effective lawyers. And when a law school does a good job preparing students to pass the bar exam, it’s doing a good job preparing them for the practice of law.”
The National Jurist looked at pass rates on a school-by-school basis and compared the actual pass rates for 2014 and 2013, the most recent data available, with the predicted pass rates to find the difference between the two. Studies show that LSAT scores correlate strongly with Multi State Bar Examination (MBE) performance, which accounts for half of the grade on most bar exams.
LMU Law’s average difference of 15.72 led all schools, followed by Campbell Law (12.49), University of South Dakota (10.92), Florida A&M University (10.09) and Widener Law Commonwealth (10.05). LMU, which received provisional approval from the American Bar Association in December 2014, was founded with a mission to provide legal education opportunities for the people of underserved regions and prepare lawyers for careers in law that enable them to address the underserved legal needs of Appalachia and beyond.
“I often describe our mission as ‘coaching up’ every one of our students,” Wade said. “In 2014, no one in the country did that better than our law school faculty and staff. I have no doubt that LMU’s ranking will be first in that category again in 2016.”
This is a trend LMU Law anticipates will continue. On the July 2016 administration of the bar exam, LMU Law had a first-time pass rate of 87.5 percent, which beat the state average of 73.23 percent for first-time bar takers. Three out of the four re-examinees from LMU Law, or 75 percent, also passed the July 2016 examination. LMU Law’s first-time pass rate, re-exam pass rate, and overall pass rate of 85 percent were each the second-highest among all Tennessee law schools on the July 2016 administration of the exam. Since the law school graduated its first class in May 2013, 93 percent of graduates who have taken a bar exam have passed it.