Law graduates earn highest July N.C. Bar Exam first-time pass rate since 2012

Photo of Campbell Law grads on stage

RALEIGH — Campbell Law School saw its highest first-time pass rate — 92 percent — on the July 2019 North Carolina Bar Exam since 2012.

“Our 92 percent first-time pass rate is the highest during my tenure as dean,” said Dean J. Rich Leonard, who is in his seventh year at the law school’s leader.  “The last number like this was in 2012, right before the dramatic downturn in the law school applicant pool. I so appreciate the hard work of our graduates and the contributions of our dedicated faculty and staff that have gotten us to this point.”

Recording an 88.29 percent overall mark, 98 of the 111 overall Campbell Law test takers successfully navigated their way through the exam.

Regarding first-time testers, 92 Campbell Law graduates passed out of 100. Six of the 11 repeat testers passed.

“We are as pleased as can be for our 92 new colleagues that are licensed to practice law within this state,” the dean continued. “We are also proud of the fact that we’ve improved upon our scores from the prior year, an initiative that has been my top priority over the past few years.”

The summer 2019 North Carolina Bar Exam marked the second time the state participated in the Uniform Bar Exam, which as of February 2019, has been adopted in 35 jurisdictions: 33 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“A number of our students who did not meet the North Carolina passing score scored high enough to be licensed in other states should they desire to do so,” Dean Leonard added.  “That is one of the great advantages of a national exam.”

For graduates who wish to practice in the Old North State but were ultimately unsuccessful in their attempt, the dean says: “They know full well that they have the complete resources of my administrative staff and this entire law school community in turning things around. We have already begun to reach out to those individuals and will do absolutely everything we can to get them over this final hurdle.”

In all, 88.20% of first-time testers from the seven North Carolina law schools passed the examination. Of all applicants who sat for the exam, 77.91 percent passed.


Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,200 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2019, Campbell Law is celebrating 40 years of graduating legal leaders and 10 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.