|UF Law Dean Laura Ann Rosenbury at the 2016 UF Day at the Capitol|
The average first-try passage rate on the February Florida Bar Examination was below 60 percent again for the second time in two years. It was 57.9 percent in February 2018 and 57.7 percent in February 2017.
Florida International University had the highest first-try passage rate in February 2018 with 85.0 percent. The University of Florida was last with 31.8 percent. Florida A&M University was second-to-last with 36.7 percent.
The deans of the law schools at the UF and Florida A&M University both stated that raising the first-try bar passage rate is a top priority.
“We are beyond disappointed in the performance of our students on the February bar exam, said UF Law Dean Laura Ann Rosenbury. “The results are utterly unacceptable given the caliber of our students and the quality of their education. The efforts we undertook prior to the February bar exam were clearly insufficient. We will be increasing the support we provide to the students taking the July, 2018 bar exam.”
Rosenbury added that: “We have a long tradition at UF Law of respecting our students’ autonomy and control over the courses they take. Given these shocking and disheartening results, we are rethinking this approach and doubling down on our intervention strategy. These results are a clear wake-up call for the entire law school. Faculty and staff will do our part by providing support, resources, and encouragement to students. We have no doubt our students will rise to this challenge.”
FAMU Interim Law Dean LeRoy Pernell said he and the faculty at his college are continuing to work hard to improve first-try passage rates.
“While we are far from satisfied with the most recent passage rate, we remain committed to our efforts to improve bar performance as part of a series of initiatives designed to strengthen our entire legal education program,” Pernell said in a quote in the Tallahassee Democrat.
Pernell previously served as the dean of the FAMU law school from 2008 until to June 2015. He led the college to full accreditation from the American Bar Association in 2009 and full accreditation reaffirmation in 2014. FAMU Law saw its highest first-try bar passage rate under his leadership. FAMU graduates had an 82.6 percent first-try passage rate in February 2013.
Back in May 2017, Pernell was appointed interim dean. He introduced the new Project PASS (Performance Assessment and Strategic Support) initiative in Fall 2017 to help boost first-try bar passage rates.
Project PASS utilizes proven methods to target first-year and upper-level students with uniquely designed teaching tools that will complement existing course work or will be integrated into the curriculum. The FAMU College of Law has partnered with BARBRI and its Center for Educational Development to deliver students an array of Project PASS services.
Project PASS uses assessment and learning services developed internally by FAMU administrators, as well as tools offered by BARBRI, which has partnered with dozens of law schools to provide academic and testing support beyond bar review courses. As an added bonus, FAMU College of Law students who access the free BARBRI services and later choose to select BARBRI as their commercial bar review provider, will receive a discount on the course.
Among the other elements of Project PASS are online tools, lectures, practice questions, and outline books to reinforce key rules of law. BARBI will also host workshops to assist students preparing for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, including on-site courses, textbooks, reviews and lectures. Third-year students also will receive complimentary course materials for the Multistate Bar, Law and Skills and the Florida Bar, Law and Skills courses.