UC Hastings Grads Post Impressive 80% Pass Rate on July 2019 CA Bar Exam

May 2019 graduates in the top quartile by law school GPA had a first-time pass rate of 100%.

The first-time bar passage rate for 2019 UC Hastings graduates was 80.5% and the overall first-time pass rate of UC Hastings Law graduates, including prior-year grads who took the California bar exam for the first time in July, was 79.3%.

These results place UC Hastings well above the overall California pass rate of 50.1% and the California ABA-accredited school rate of 71%. They also constitute huge improvement over the college’s recent pass rates. The State Bar of California will release comprehensive bar passage data in December.

Chancellor and Dean David Faigman shared the news with the UC Hastings community in his Thanksgiving message. “These numbers return the college to historic pass rates we have not experienced since 2011, and are well worth celebrating,” he said.

An internal analysis of the college’s bar passage data reveals:

  • The dramatic jump in first-time pass rate for UC Hastings graduates substantially exceeds gains at other ABA-accredited California law schools. Whereas the average first-time pass rate for all ABA-accredited schools in California jumped by 7 points in July 2019 compared to July 2018, the first-time pass rate of 80.5% for the UC Hastings Class of 2019 represents a nearly 20 percentage point increase over our graduates’ July 2018 bar exam outcomes and a nearly 30% increase in the pass rate over July 2016 outcomes.
  • May 2019 graduates in the top quartile by law school GPA had a first-time pass rate of 100%.Approximately 95% of the May 2019 graduates in the top half of the class passed the California bar exam on their first attempt. Substantial increases occurred across all GPA quartiles in the May 2019 graduating class.
  • Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP) graduates performed particularly well on the exam this year, with an overall pass rate of 76%, which is one of the highest recorded since the college began analyzing pass data.

“Credit is due, principally, to our Class of 2019 graduates, who worked hard for this well-deserved success,” Faigman noted. “The College’s improved bar performance is a testament to our students’ grit and determination.”

UC Hastings has devoted significant energy and resources into helping graduates perform better on bar exams. Initiatives include requiring more upper division bar courses, giving closed book exams to train students how to memorize, teaching legal analysis iteratively and more explicitly across the curriculum, and providing more post-graduation coaching and other support for graduates studying for the bar exam.

“Our graduates benefitted from considerable support and encouragement from all quarters of the school,” Faigman said. “In that regard, I want to thank administrators, faculty, and staff who in the past few years have overseen a renaissance in the way we advise, teach, and support our students.”

He credited Academic Dean Morris Ratner, Assistant Dean for Academic Skills Instruction and Support Stefano Moscato, and Director of Bar Passage Support Margaret Greer.

In addition, he thanked Academic Skills Lecturers Jennifer Freeland and Juan Carlos Ibarra, Director of Academic Support Laurie Zimet, Director of LEOP Elizabeth McGriff, Academic Skills Specialist Alexandra Avram, and Coordinator Katey Mason. Faigman also credited the college’s 1L Sack professors, the Law & Process faculty, and “all other faculty who have adopted innovative teaching methods, including formative assessment, active learning, individualized feedback, and attentiveness to what and how the California bar exam tests, have all contributed to the success of our graduates.”

Information on UC Hastings’s historical bar exam results can be found here. Information on the bar exam results statewide can be found here. Earlier this month, the State Bar of California announced that 3,886 people (50.1 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam, a rebound to the 2017 pass rate.

“UC Hastings has reached a crossroads in our history,” Faigman said. “With the build out of the new campus, four buildings newly built or substantially renovated over the next four years, the addition of new programmatic centers that complement our existing world-class research centers, and the enduring and heightened commitment to ensuring student success on the bar and in employment, UC Hastings continues to demonstrate our status as one of the nation’s premier law schools. It takes the commitment of an extraordinary community to accomplish this feat.”

UC Hastings will host a swearing-in ceremony Dec. 6. Details and registration are here.