Law students set the BAR high

The Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Board of Bar Examiners released bar examination statistical information for July 2010.

 The results? As expected, the usual suspects had the highest bar passage rates. The University of Florida had the highest bar passage rate for first-time examinees at 86.8 percent. Running a close second was Florida State at 86 percent. And in third, with what is arguably the most prominent of the state’s private law programs is the University of Miami, with a pass rate of 86 percent.

The youngest of the bunch, our very own FAMU College of Law, saw 55 of its 88 examinees pass the Florida Bar, or 62.5 percent of first-time examinees.

While that number may seem abysmal compared to that of other public law programs, keep in mind that FAMU Law is still quite new and it just received full accreditation from the American Bar Association in 2009. Not to mention that most recent statistics signal that improvements in Orlando are being made.

LeRoy Pernell, dean of FAMU Law has increased efforts already in place to ensure that his students are exceptionally prepared to ace the Florida Bar Exam.

“Weekly bar prep and academic success workshops are offered to law students to improve those bar exam scores in the future,” Pernell told

Since FAMU law was reestablished in 2002, the school has come under scrutiny from skeptics because of questionable administrative practices that have haunted the Tallahassee campus for years. Even through financial turmoil and uncertainty for the future of the institute, FAMU Law continues to serve its purpose as a law school for those who are either shut out of the state’s elite law programs or simply cannot afford to attend them.

Some tax-paying naysayers continually refuse to give FAMU Law the praise it is due for making progress and serving those in Florida who are disadvantaged. It may be of no consolation to them that FAMU Law was ranked the most diverse law school in the country in 2007 and 2010. A great feat, since there is still a disparity in the number of minority state bar members in Florida.

At the bottom of the document enclosing the results of bar passage rates for first-time examinees, a line reads,”these statistical data do not represent an evalutation of the listed law schools.”  But tell this to Florida lawmakers and taxpayers that do not and have never believed in the success stories authored at FAMU and they will quickly point to these numbers.

Nonetheless, under the leadership of Pernell and FAMU president James Ammons, FAMU Law will continue to make impressive gains and one day take its place as Florida’s premier law program.