UM Law Bar Pass Rate Soars to 94.5%

Law buildingMore than 94% of law graduates from the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law passed the Montana Bar Exam on their first attempt in July, a rate that’s 19% higher than the national first-time passage rate cited by the American Bar Association.

By comparison, the overall pass rate for all candidates taking the July exam in Montana was 85%.

“We are delighted that so many of our graduates can immediately begin serving their communities and pursuing their career goals,” said law Dean Paul Kirgis. “Especially this year, with the disruptions caused by COVID-19, it’s gratifying to see these results. They are a testament to the quality and dedication of both our students and our faculty.”

Kirgis credits the high pass rate to the law school’s comprehensive academic success program, which begins with a student’s first year and continues through graduation and bar exam passage. This program includes individualized support provided to students by Associate Dean of Students Sally Weaver and Director of the Law Firm Program Beth Brennan, who together lead the School of Law’s bar preparation efforts.

“Without compromising on our promise to deliver the best practical legal education available, we are making sure we give our students the tools and knowledge they need to pass the bar,” Weaver said.

“This successful effort by the law school really did take a village, and this success is shared by all of us,” she said. “We have outstanding students and engaged and focused faculty who ensure our students get the knowledge and skills they need not only to pass the bar exam but also to be successful in the practice of law.”

Faculty review the curriculum as a whole and individual courses to ensure coverage of the topics most frequently tested on the Uniform Bar Exam. In addition, the law school offers a Preparing for the Bar course for third-year students and provides individual coaching to recent graduates leading up to the exam.

“When it all came together, what our students achieved was phenomenal – in the most stressful, chaotic environment for anyone taking a bar exam in many years,” Weaver said.