The first group of students at the re-established Florida A&M University College of Law took the bar examination in September. Twenty-seven of the 51 students who took the exam passed.
More then half of the students who took the test passed, but not as many as University officials expected
University Interim President Castell V. Bryant said she knows FAMU students can do better.
“I would have loved for us to have better results,” said Bryant, “But I am not discouraged. This gives us a chance to improve our students’ scores before the (next) exam.”
Interim Dean at the College of Law James M. Douglas said, “I think we did well for the first time coming out the gates.”
Douglas said he plans on placing more emphasis on those students who will soon sit before the bar.
Students will have anther chance to take the bar in February.
Though not all the students of the first class passed, many University officials feel positive about this new era in the chapter of the law school and hope to see more students pass in the future.
“Now we know what needs to be done,” Bryant stated.
FAMU has yet to receive its complete analysis of the recent scores, which will allow school officials to gain more knowledge on the next steps to increase the pass rate.
Various school officials said they are confident that the school is still on the right track.
FAMU first established the College of Law in 1949, when the University was named Florida A&M College.
The school graduated a number of well-known lawyers including Leander Shaw, Jr., who served as an Associate Justice of the Florida Supreme Court.
The College of Law admitted its first students in 1951.
The Florida Board of control withdrew its permission for the institution to admit law students and in 1953 the law school graduated its last class
FAMU was forced to close the school, which did not reopen until the 20th century.
On June, 14, 2000, the Florida Legislature passed the legislation establishing a law school at Florida A&M University.
Governor Jeb Bush signed the bill into law and the College of Law admitted its first students in the fall of 2002. Ã
The American Bar Association (ABA) granted the University’s College of Law provisional approval in August 2004.
According to the ABA, “A school that is provisionally approved is entitled to all the rights of a fully approved law school.”
Graduates of provisionally approved law schools are entitled to the same recognition granted to graduates of fully approved schools.
Though the school is provisional, University officials are taking all steps to pursue full ABA.
Charla McKinley, a 21-year-old political science FAMU alumna from Palm Beach said,
“Since FAMU has reopened the College of Law in 2002, I have had hopes of attending it.”
McKinley spoke briefly about her visit to the law school campus in Orlando and how she enjoyed her experience.
“I have nothing but respect for the students who take a chance on a school that is not fully accredited. I am also proud that the school did well for its first time.” McKinley said. “I am more than excited to get to Orlando and do what I have to get done.”
McKinley said she is keeping a close eye on the college and she has high hopes of becoming one of those students to pass the bar in the year 2009.
Contact Ashley Gibson at email@example.com