The University of La Verne College of Law’s first-time bar pass rate rose to 73% last October, a number that nearly matches the statewide average and is higher than several of the law school’s competitors.
In all, 43 of the 59 law students who took the bar for the first time passed, Jendayi Saada, associate dean of the College of Law, said.
“Students were extremely motivated and driven because of the things they had to go through,” said Saada.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bar exam was delayed until October, stretching what was typically a 10-week exam preparation period to an 18-week period. Saada said that while it is easy to assume a longer preparation period correlated to the higher pass rate, she emphasized the unprecedented number of challenges students faced in the time leading up to the exam.
“They seemed to take that adversity in stride and be more resolute about doing well,” Saada said.
Some law students participated in the George Floyd protests last summer, while most faced the challenges that COVID-19 brought to many people, including working from home, isolation and child care struggles.
Saada said she is confident that the College can continue to improve on the pass rate even after the pandemic subsides.
“Through finding innovative ways to engage students online … we can adjust when necessary and we can do a fairly effective online bar prep program,” Saada said.
The College was accredited by the California Bar Association in 2019, following its pivot away from American Bar Association accreditation. Saada said she is hopeful that when the earliest California Bar cohort can take the bar exam in 2023, those students will match if not exceed the pass rate of those who took it this past October.
The California State Bar oversaw 9,000 students who took the exam last October, the largest number in seven years, according to its report on the results of the exam. The statewide pass rate for all first-time examinees was 74%.