College of Law: FIU Law graduates rank no.1 in Florida Bar Passage Rate

Julie Walsh/Contributing Writer

The University’s College of Law had the highest bar passage rate in Florida, with 89 percent of its students passing the exam.

The University is ranked above the University of Florida, who had an 87.3 percent passing rate and Florida State University, who passed with 80.3 percent, according to the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.

But, overall, Florida declined by eight points, with a 72 percent passing rate in 2014 and a 64 percent passing rate in 2015, according to Excess of Democracy.

“I don’t think this is a pressure for incoming bar takers,” said R. Alexander Acosta, dean of the COL. “Our students do well and [are] well prepared. As long as they’re our graduates, we’re going to take care of them.”

Law schools among the state of Florida each aim to rank first in the bar passage rate.

Raul Ruiz, assistant professor and director of bar preparation, said it shows the kind of work the students and professors do.

“The high Bar passing rates reflect on a combination of FIU Law’s professors and students,” said Elise Barimo, third year law student. “We have a balance between extremely intelligent professors who do an incredible job of teaching us the law and studious and hardworking students who want to succeed.”

Acosta said this accomplishment reflects the hard work and dedication of their students and their capabilities, as well as the outstanding teaching, improvement and remodeling of their academic excellence program.

Ruiz works with each student and individualizes a study program for them.

“I’d like to thank him and I’d like to thank our students,” said Acosta.

The academic excellence bar program is led by Ruiz and Louis Schulze, assistant dean of the COL. The program helps students from their first day of law school to their last day taking the Bar.

According to Ruiz, it teaches them to be great attorneys and great test-takers. The program was established approximately two years ago by Schulze and has already had a positive effect, he said.

Barimo said that many law school graduates think of the bar as a nerve-wracking experience, studying more hours than they ever have before.

“The bar exam is a different beast than any type of test you’ve ever taken in school,” said Ruiz. “It’s the hardest test you’ll take in your life.”

But Barimo said she doesn’t have to worry about not feeling prepared for the bar exam. She thinks that the education her and her peers have received is invaluable and more than enough to prepare them for their futures.

Ruiz thinks it’s a big achievement for the students and faculty of the college.

“It really shows the quality of education that they’re getting from a public university,” he said.

Barimo and Gail Walsh, a first year law student, said the released numbers have only strengthened their confidence in something that they already knew: that FIU Law is preparing them and their peers for success.

“I am so proud to be part of an institution that achieved the highest bar passing rate in Florida,” said Walsh. “FIU Law is an up-and-coming law school and I know that we will go very far.”

Barimo agrees.

“Being a student at the Florida school with the highest bar passing rate not only excites me for my successful future, but makes me even more proud to be an FIU law student,” Barimo said.

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