New study reveals Campbell Law ranks 4th nationally in overperformance on bar exam

Photo of Campbell Law exterior with downtown Raleigh skyline behind it

RALEIGH — The National Jurist magazine has released a new study ranking Campbell Law School fourth in the nation for overperformance on the bar exam. The results are based on a five-year study of bar exam results from 2015-19 conducted by former founding Dean Jeffery Kinsler of Belmont University College of Law.  

“The study concludes that Campbell Law ranks fourth among 200 law schools in overperformance on the bar exam, when comparing the entering credentials of students with the bar results obtained,” Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard said.  “I expect we would have done even better if our 93% from this summer had been included.”

Leonard told the magazine that one of the secrets to Campbell Law’s success is it takes a multi-pronged approach to preparing students for the bar exam. Unlike some law schools, two-thirds of a student’s curriculum at Campbell Law is made up of required courses in substantive areas that are tested on the bar exam. 

“We are a school that is laser-focused on bar passage,” Leonard told the National Jurist. “That’s why I was not terribly surprised by our high rank on this study. We do a great job teaching our students, and we usually match or exceed the bar passage outcomes of the University of North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest, whose students often have much higher LSAT scores than ours. We are very proud of our record.”

Other law schools in the top five are: Belmont Law, Florida International University College of Law, Liberty University School of Law and Texas A&M University School of Law. 

Kinsler told the magazine he used linear regression models along with his colleague, Professor Jeffrey Usman, to assess the performance of graduates from 187 ABA-approved schools for a five-year period (2015-19) to determine which schools were providing the most bar-passage value to their students. (Twenty schools were excluded because of missing or inconsistent data.) 

“Statistically, students with higher UGPAs and LSAT scores are more likely to pass the bar exam,” Kinsler told the magazine. “Based on that premise, a predicted bar passage rate can be calculated.”

They went on to compare each school’s predicted bar passage rate to its actual rate to determine which schools over perform on the bar exam. 

The study used four metrics to assess a law school’s performance for each of the five calendar years: median LSAT and composite average first-time bar passage rate; median GPA and composite average first-time bar passage rate; median LSAT and composite average first-time time bar pass rate differential; and median UGPA and composite average first-time bar pass rate differential.  An average annual rank was calculated based on the school’s performance during the five-year period.

The original article can be found at this link.


Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law School 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 4,300 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2019, Campbell Law celebrated 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.