ABA Bar Passage Data

The last little piece of data the ABA pages give, tucked into the bottom corner of the second page,is Bar Passage information. If you think you don't need this info, you're buying into the classic USNews superficial look.

For instance, USNews will show you that Duke grads often work in New York and pass the NY Bar with flying colors. But it won't show you that a substantial number also take the North Carolina Bar (which they also pass with flying colors).

If you buy the paid online version it will show you that 42% work in the South Atlantic region, but that includes both NC and DC; we would have guessed — incorrectly — that Duke grads must work in DC.

ABA Bar Passage Data

In addition to showing more than one jurisdiction (which is a state, not a region), the ABA shows us how many people took and passed that state's bar exam.

ABA Bar Passage Data

At American University, for instance, the largest number (out of 405 graduates) took and passed the Maryland Bar. But a sizeable chunk took and passed the New York bar. In fact, more American grads took (and passed) the NY Bar Exam than did Duke grads! (Before you email me, note that I wrote "number," not "per cent.")

Of course, American is twice as large as Duke, but the data still puts a large hole in the theory that only national schools place out of state.

Finally, the ABA-LSAC Guide includes data on schools that are beneath the notice of USNews.

Western State University's law school is one of the dozen not included in the 2009 USNews ranking. (The 2010 rankings hasn't even been leaked as I write this.)

Sadly, the school's Bar Passage rate is abysmal -- 28% in the fall, and 26% overall.

This may be beneath the dignity of USNews to report, but it's valuable information for the 1,816 people who applied there last year.

ABA Bar Passage Data

The short lesson is that USNews data isn't the only data, and may not be the best data. The larger lesson is: whenever you have more than one source of information and more than 15 minutes to answer a question, you'd be foolish not to look at other sources -- especially "Official" ones.


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