Florida Law Review article reveals Campbell Law grads outperform on bar exam

Photo of scrabble tiles that spell bar exam

RALEIGH  — Two law school professors have published an article ranking Campbell Law School among the top schools that consistently over perform on the bar exam. 

Professor Christopher J. Ryan of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law in Louisville, Kentucky, and Professor Derek T. Muller of the University of Notre Dame School of Law have published, “The Secret Sauce: Examining Law Schools that Overperform on the Bar Exam,” in the University of Florida Law Review. The article is based on a study released in February 2022.

Campbell Law comes in at 11th in the article’s findings, sandwiched between the University of Virginia Law School and Yale University Law School.

The article’s Abstract states: “Since 2010, law schools have faced declining enrollment and entering classes with lower predictors of success despite recent signs of improvement. At least partly as a result, rates at which law school graduates pass the bar exam have declined and remain at historic lows. Yet, during this time, many schools have improved their graduates’ chances of success on the bar exam, and some schools have dramatically outperformed their predicted bar exam passage rates. This Article examines which schools do so and why.

“Research for this Article began by accounting for law schools’ incoming class credentials to predict an expected bar exam passage rate for each ABA-accredited law school. This Article then examines each law school’s aggregated performance on bar exams for which its graduates sat based on relative and absolute performance, weighing the difficulty of each state’s bar exam. Through this analysis, this Article identifies law schools with consistently higher and lower first-time bar exam passage rates over a period of six years between 2014 and 2019. In addition to identifying law schools that overperform on the bar exam, this Article is a novel contribution not only to the legal education literature but also to the quantitative methodological literature, given its unique tailoring of the classic value-added modeling design to the realities of the bar exam.

“In the second phase of research for this Article, the authors surveyed administrators at these overperforming and underperforming law schools, as well as law schools in the middle of the distribution, to qualitatively assess how these law schools approach the bar success of their students. Collectively, this Article provides significant insight into how law schools are responding to recent negative trends in bar passage rates, validates successful approaches to mitigate these negative trends, and recommends options available to law schools seeking to improve their students’ bar passage rates.”

A report of the Top 25 and bottom 17 law schools is in the Appendix that follows:

  1. Florida International (#60 in U.S. News) 
  2. Stanford (#1)
  3. USC (#16)
  4. UC-Berkeley (#10)
  5. North Carolina (#22)
  6. Belmont (#105)
  7. Michigan (#10)
  8. Florida State (#56)
  9. UCLA (#14)
  10. Virginia (#8)
  11. Campbell (#125)
  12. Yale (#1)
  13. LSU (#99)
  14. Georgia (#20)
  15. Duke (#5)
  16. Harvard (#5)
  17. Wake Forest (#22)
  18. Georgia State (#69)
  19. Chicago (#3)
  20. Penn (#4)
  21. Illinois (#43)
  22. Baylor (#49)
  23. Washington & Lee (#40)
  24. Liberty (#135)
  25. Vanderbilt (#16)
  1. Illinois-Chicago (#159 in U.S. News)
  2. Western State (Tier 2)
  3. Appalachian (Tier 2)
  4. Southern (Tier 2)
  5. Oklahoma City (#150)
  6. Faulkner (#159)
  7. Western New England (Tier 2)
  8. New England (#155)
  9. Southern Illinois (#174)
  10. Charleston (Tier #2)
  11. John Marshall-Atlanta (171)
  12. Golden Gate (Tier 2)
  13. Touro (#167)
  14. District of Columbia (Tier 2)
  15. Thomas Jefferson (N/R)
  16. Barry (Tier 2)
  17. Texas Southern (Tier 2)
  18. Western Michigan (Tier 2)

Campbell Law graduates consistently perform well on the bar exam. In 2022, Campbell Law ranked 16th among the Top 50 law schools for the two-year ultimate bar passage rate, according to data released by the American Bar Association (ABA).