With falling bar exam passage rates, many law schools have implemented bar exam preparation programs but are still struggling to improve bar exam passage rates. The increase in law school matriculants with Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores below 150 had a statistically significant negative correlation with national mean Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) scores, and with the new American Bar Association (ABA) Standard 316 mandating a 75% bar passage rate, law schools are facing mounting pressure to ensure that their graduates are ready and able to pass their bar examination expeditiously or risk losing ABA accreditation.
Law schools have been frustrated by the lack of results with their internal bar exam preparation programs. They often struggle to identify why their students continue to fail the bar exam. Not much has been written about the theory, design, implementation, and evaluation of an effective law school bar exam preparation program. This Article will discuss each of those areas with the goal of helping law schools achieve an important milestone: increasing bar passage rates for their students and maintaining ABA accreditation.
This Article will discuss what has caused a decrease in bar exam scores nationwide and how the bar preparation program at the Florida International University College of Law (FIU or the FIU College of Law) has counteracted declining pass rates. The focus of the bar prep program at FIU will be discussed in detail, so other law schools may utilize those same concepts.
II. What Is Causing Low Bar Passage Rates? ... A. “It’s the LSAT!”, Said a Voice ... B. It’s (Mostly) Law School Performance, Though ... C. Adding Federal Civil Procedure Introduced a Problem: Cognitive Load ... D. Conclusion
III. Theory of Design of a Law School Bar Exam Preparation Program ... A. Focus on Skills, Sprinkle Some Doctrine ... B. Exploring Noncognitive Factors in More Detail ... 1. Academic Behaviors ... 2. Academic Mindsets ... 3. Learning Psychology and Strategies ... 4. Academic Perseverance ... C. Countering Stereotype Threat
IV. Implementing a Law School Bar Exam Preparation Program: An Overview of FIU’s Program ... A. What I Saw at FIU When I Arrived ... B. Academic Support For 1L and 2L Students ... C. Advanced Legal Analysis ... D. Law & Procedure ... E. Bar Exam Success Program (BESP) ... F. Developing Noncognitive Skills in the Bar Prep Program ... 1. Academic Behaviors ... 2. Academic Perseverance and Growth Mindset ... 3. Science of Learning ... G. Controlling the Message: Exclusion of Commercial Bar Exam Preparation Companies from Campus
V. Statistical Analysis of Effectiveness ... A. Analysis of the Evolution of Predictors for Bar Passage at FIU ... 1. Methodology and Data Used in Regression ... 2. Model 1 - Incoming 1L Predictors ... 3. Model 2 - Immediate Post-1L Predictors ... 4. Model 3 - Post-3L Predictors ... 5. Conclusion ... B. Linear Regression Analysis of FIU Performance on Exceeding Florida Bar Exam Statewide Average ... 1. Methodology and Data Used in Regression … 2. Analysis of Regression Results
Leveraging Noncognitive Skills to Foster Bar Exam Success: An Analysis of the Efficacy of the Bar Passage Program at FIU Law,
99 Neb. L. Rev. 141
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol99/iss1/6