ABA Releases Comprehensive Report On Ultimate Bar Passage Results

Nearly 90 percent of law graduates in 2015 passed the bar exam within two years of graduation, new data released by the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar revealed.

First-time bar passage outcomes have traditionally been reported on a school-by-school basis and made public under Standard 509, often serving as a fundamental factor in a prospective law student's school selection. First-time bar passage outcomes also weigh heavily in various law school rankings. 

The new data set provides a comprehensive look at bar passage outcomes for ABA-approved schools beyond this limited scope.

Barry Currier, the section’s managing director said: 

“This report is not a compliance report for ABA Standard 316, which sets the standard for bar passage. That is a separate and distinct matter. But these reports provide important consumer information for students considering whether and where to attend law school and for others with an interest in legal education.” 

While the outcomes vary from school to school, 87.83 percent of those who graduated from law school in 2015 and took the bar exam passed within two years of graduation. The data takes into account test-takers that passed on their first or subsequent attempts. Close to 75,000 law graduates took the bar exam with 65,784 ultimately passing. Just 2.8 percent of 2015 law grads did not take the bar exam in the two years after graduation.

The ABA recently removed bar passage information from the law school Standard 509 report, which is published each fall. Law schools were required to file a separate report in February 2018 detailing bar passage outcomes. Schools were asked for the first time to report ultimate bar pass data, starting with 2015 graduates. The council expects to continue this longitudinal approach to reporting bar results for 2016 graduates. 

The new data will be helpful to prospective law students, Currier said giving them a “snapshot of how law graduates are doing over a two-year span at each school.”

The results also showed which schools came out on top when it comes to ultimate bar passage outcomes. Here are the top 20 law schools with the best overall bar passage rates for the Class of 2015:


1. Baylor University: 100%

2. University of Wisconsin: 100%

3. University of Pennsylvania: 99.57%

4. Maruette University: 99.55%

5. University of Virginia: 99.44%

6. Yale University: 98.97%

7. University of Chicago: 98.96%

8. University of Washington: 98.95%

9. Stanford University: 98.91%

10. University of Iowa: 98.50%

11. Harvard University: 98.43%

12. University of Michigan: 98.28%

13. University of Florida: 98.03%

14. Florida International University: 97.87%

15. Campbell University: 97.86%

16. University of Connecticut: 97.83%

17. UC Berkeley: 97.75%

18. University of Kansas: 97.67%

19. University of Missouri: 97.58%

20. Ohio State University: 97.53%


The full data set can be downloaded here.