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Bar passage rate rises for law school

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Robert Penalber
Editor in Chief

Kat Simonelli
Assistant Editor

La Verne’s College of Law saw a 13 percent increase from last year in graduates passing the California Bar Exam on their first try, according to a recent report from the State Bar of California Office of Admissions.

Forty-three of the 65 graduates who took the exam in July passed, placing La Verne’s pass rate just 10 percent below this year’s state average of 76 percent.

“The performance on the July 2013 Bar Exam is an important step in our quest for full ABA approval,” dean of the College of Law Gilbert Holmes said in a Wednesday email. “These results support our position in that we have the program, the commitments by students, faculty and staff, and the approach to be successful in obtaining full approval.”

Administrators credit the law school’s expansion to include the Center for Academic and Bar Readiness in an effort to receive full accreditation.

“In particular, the efforts of assistant dean Jendayi Saada in the Center for Academic and Bar Readiness need to be recognized,” Interim Provost Jonathan Reed said.

The center has developed its post-graduation supplemental bar review by introducing the Bar Exam Strategic Training program this summer under Saada’s leadership.

The BEST program is a post-graduation Bar preparation program that involves one-on-one counseling, including essay feedback, subject matter tutoring, schedule adjustments and stress management advising, she said. Graduates participate in the program during the 10 week period after graduation and before the February and July Bar exams.

“There is no doubt that the BEST program is helping our students succeed on the Bar exam,” Saada said.

“Having students participate in the program on campus means greater access to Center staff and faculty, as well as extra moral support and encouragement during this grueling preparation period.”

In addition, the law school revised its curriculum in the fall 2012 semester, introducing new prep courses during students’ final years at the law school, Saada said.

The courses were added as a requirement to give students a longer and more seamless transition into Bar preparation after graduating.

Though full accreditation has remained out of reach for years now, law school administrators are remaining optimistic.

“The current Bar pass rates position the College of Law to move towards full ABA accreditation,” Reed said.

Robert Penalber can be reached at robert.penalber@laverne.edu.

Kat Simonelli can be reached at kathryn.simonelli@laverne.edu.

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