Grantee Research

Law Student Success and Supports: Examining Bar Passage and Factors That Contribute to Student Performance

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



bar passage correlates, law schools, predictive models


In recent years, law schools have experienced a decline in enrollment and bar passage. Higher education has been challenged to understand this new phenomenon and conduct research that can inform law student success practices and policies. This paper presents findings from research conducted at a large, Midwestern public university that investigated the factors and student characteristics most strongly associated with bar passage. Results suggest that bar passage can be predicted by a wide battery of variables. Despite some literature that suggests otherwise, however, LSAT and undergraduate GPA are weakly predictive, while information from the first year of law school – even the performance in just one first semester course – explains significantly more variation in bar passage. These preliminary results provide important first insights into bar passage.