Last July, 87 out of 118 graduates of the University of Oregon School of Law took the bar exam, the test that allows individuals to practice law in a given jurisdiction.
The results, which were released late September, revealed that 83 percent of UO Law alum who took the Oregon test for the first time in July passed it. This exceeds the statewide average of a 78 percent pass rate.
Additionally, all five of the UO Law graduates who took the test for the first time in Washington passed.
“We are very pleased with how well our graduates did on the Oregon bar exam, particularly since the overall rate was down in the state this year,” said Nicole Commissiong, the assistant dean for student affairs. “We are also pleased that our graduates achieved the highest bar passage rate among the state’s three law schools.”
Pass rates for the exam are at a 34-year low across the nation this year. Statewide, pass rates dropped nearly six percentage points from 83.6 percent for first-time applicants in July 2017 to 78 percent for that group this year, according to a UO law school press release.
Though pass rates are lower than in previous years, Commissiong said the law school aims to invest in its students by helping them prepare for the exam. The school has done so by creating a program dedicated to this and partnering with Barbri, a company that offers bar review courses.
The bar exam consists of three parts: a 200-question multiple-choice exam, an essay test with six questions and a performance test, according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ website.
Graduates usually prepare for the exam over the course of nine weeks and commit about 500 to 600 hours to studying, said Megan McAlpin, law professor and director of the law school’s Academic Excellence Program. This equates to nearly nine or 10 hours of studying for six days a week, she said.
Commissiong said the pass rates of this year’s graduates reflects the effort by the law school to prepare their students, as well as the hard work of those graduates.
“Passing the bar exam is an accomplishment and a milestone in the life of a lawyer,” she said. “We are excited that our graduates did so well on the bar exam last year and again this year, and we look forward to continuing to support our graduates as they prepare to take and pass the bar exam.”