Bar Examinations and Bar Passage

The Relationship Between Law School and the Bar Exam: A Look at Assessment and Student Success

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date



bar exam design


Law schools have a moral and ethical obligation to society - and, to an even greater degree, to their students - to adequately prepare the students to succeed as professionals. Ultimate success for law students is measured by the ability to competently practice in the legal profession, which requires passing the bar exam. A recent downward trend in national bar passage rates highlights the need for law schools to address the factors negatively affecting bar passage rates. Based on research conducted at the University of Colorado School of Law, this article discusses methods to reform new attorney licensure and also highlights strategies to improve bar passage. It suggests ways to minimize the effects of the bar exam's negative factors and recommends ways to better prepare law students.