College of Law ranking drops to fourth in the state

Adrian Suarez Avila/ Staff Writer

The University’s College of Law ranked lower in bar passage rate for the July administration as compared to the February administration.

Ranked as fourth in the state with a bar passage rate of 78.2 percent, a tie with Stetson University’s law school, the College of Law moved one spot below the third ranking position for the 81.3 percent passage rate it achieved earlier in February, according to the Daily Business Reviewwebsite.

Ranked first was University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, with a bar passage rate of 90.6 percent. Florida State University and University of Miami law schools ranked second and third with passage rates of 81.8 and 81.2 percent, respectively.

For the Florida bar exam administration in July 2013, FIU Law also ranked fourth, according to

In July 2011, FIU Law reached the No. 1 spot with a passage rate of 89.6 percent.

Dean Alexander Acosta doesn’t mind the fluctuations.

“Consistency is what is most important,” said Acosta. “Year after year, we are among the top three or four law schools among the twelve law schools in Florida.”

Despite ranking below the passage rate it achieved in February, FIU Law actually improved in relation to the statewide average, performing better this year than in previous ones, according to Acosta.

“It’s great to be No. 1, but the reality is that there’s statistical noise, and one year we’re No. 1, and one year UF is No. 1,” said Acosta. “As long as we’re in that top grouping, I’m good with that.”

While most law schools don’t offer courses that help students prepare for the bar exam, the College of Law takes a different approach.

In addition to offering a third-year class that emphasizes preparation for the exam, the College offers a first-year course that introduces students to the law school environment in an effort to provide them with different perspectives on how to approach legal matters that may appear in the bar exam.

“[Studying for the bar] really falls on the students to take advantage of the faculty’s expertise,” said Daniel Rock, a third-year law student. “But even with that being said, the professors always include significant portions of their classes directed specifically towards preparation for the bar.”

Other law schools have implemented techniques similar to that of the University, a fact that motivates the school to do more.

“Now that other schools have done better than in other years, we have to redouble our efforts to keep up with them,” Acosta said.

One of these efforts involves guiding graduates while they prepare for the exam during the summer.

According to Acosta, while it’s traditional for students to study on their own for the exam after graduating, the law school offers a preparation program to keep track of students as they study in the summer months.

For the preparation program, law faculty are assigned groups of students to which they provide study tips and counseling.

The counseling component proves important when graduates consider making crucial decisions.

“A small number of students will make certain life choices right around the time of the bar exam that weren’t good choices to make at that crucial time,” said Louis N. Schulze, Jr., assistant dean and professor of academic support.

“They’ll decide, in the middle of bar prep, to move across the country, which takes a lot of effort. If they do something like that, then it will very likely impinge on their likelihood of passing the bar.”

Graphic by Krono Lescano/ the Beacon

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