Law school students ace Bar exams

Florida A&M College of Law students are beating state averages

The FAMU College of Law sent more than 150 students to take the Bar and had a 70 percent passing rate in July. That was the highest passing rate for such a large group.

The report was released in late July, just as students at FAMU’s College of Law prepared to take the state Bar Exam.

FAMU’s College of Law was recently under review by the American Bar Association for the quality of its program. The association said that the school was not meeting the criteria to stay accredited.

In February, FAMU had less than 25 students take the bar. However, they had an 82.6 percent passing rate. The school was overjoyed to see these results, but the true test came in July.

Alicia Jackson, the director of academic success and bar preparation, said she is extremely proud of the students.

“I’m very proud of the students and their commitment to properly preparing for the Bar Exam,” Jackson said. “The college of law supports students as early as orientation through taking the bar exam. We offer structured study sessions and programs to help with their success.”

The Orlando-based college of law recently made some changes to its program. John Washington, the assistant dean of admissions, said the changes only reflect how much further the students are willing to go to meet their goal.

“This was the most number of test takers we’ve had pass, and it speaks [volumes] to the students and the effort they put into it,” Washington said.

“You can only teach them so much; the student must also have initiative.”

LeRoy Pernell, dean of the College of Law, and Jackson, implemented a fee included in the students’ tuition. The fee was established to ensure all students had access to a Bar prep class. The class covered three years worth of material that is expected to be on the state Bar exam.

“It’s hard to take the test without the Bar prep class,” Washington said. “So we thought of a way to offer students even more ways of increasing their scores and passing on the first try.”

Washington also credits the small number of people that took the bar in February for the turnout in July.

“The February group set the bar high for those that took it in the July. FAMU beat the state average for the February bar,” Jackson said. “That put pressure on the July group — friendly competition.”

Washington said the overall group of July test takers was advancing towards a “steady mark of improvement.”

Mia Butler, a freshman criminal justice and pre-law student from Tallahassee, said this news only helps her when she considers applying to FAMU’s College of Law upon graduation.

“It makes me feel great, especially [being] a Rattler, that excellence is being met across the board,” Butler said. “It’s not always about the prominence of an institution but the quality of its graduates.”