An exclusive study by The National Jurist shows there is a clear correlation between incoming LSAT scores and bar exam performance. But some schools buck the averages — with Louisiana State, Campbell University and Stanford University at the top of the study in terms of performance.
To identify the schools that are outperforming what their LSAT scores predict, The National Jurist did a statistical analysis using incoming LSAT scores and bar pass rate ratio. We created a polynomial model using each school’s LSAT at the 25th percentile for 2010 (to account for the students most likely to fail the bar exam), and the ratio of graduates who passed the bar exam compared to the state average for 2009 and 2010.
The result is a clear curve. We then computed the difference between the average pass rate ratio and what the curve would predict for each school and computed a probability distribution to determine the most extreme deviations.
While the LSAT is primarily designed to measure success in law school, it has long been known that law school success predicts bar exam success. As such, most law schools have bar exam pass rates that correlate to their incoming LSAT scores.
LSU benefits from a unique bar exam based on civil code, and no MBE. This makes it easier for in-state graduates to pass the exam, allowing the school to perform better in the study.
Stanford benefits from a large number of people taking the California exam, making it easier for top schools to perform higher than the average. Six California schools place in the top 25 of the study. But which schools perform well is still surprising.
Campbell benefits from a very local bar exam with a fair amount of state law. Again, this makes it easier for in-state graduates — allowing three North Carolina schools to finish in the top 10 of the study. But again, it is surprising that Campbell places higher than other schools. The University of North Carolina School of Law performs worse than Campbell on the bar exam and it has a higher LSAT score — 159 compared to 154.
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