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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

UF Levin College of Law came second in the state for bar exam pass rates this year, showing an upward trend for the college.

UF Law Dean Laura Rosenbury said the increase in students passing the exam is because of the school’s faculty and increased resources for bar preparation. This year, 13 students from the college took the bar exam and 10 passed, giving it a pass rate of 76.9 percent, according to results released Monday by the Florida Supreme Court. Law students must pass the bar exam to practice as attorneys in Florida.

“We want all of our students to pass the bar exam on the first attempt,” Rosenbury said. “These results indicate that we are improving, but we are striving to do even better.”

Florida International University led the state at an 80 percent pass rate, and Florida State University came close to UF at 75 percent for third place.

The positive results for UF this year show an upward trend for the college’s placing. But with fewer students taking the exam in February, it’s difficult to compare it to the percentage of pass rates for the July exam, which has hundreds more taking it.

For the last exam in July 2018, UF’s pass rate was 70.9 percent, with 183 students passing out of 258, ranking it at fourth place.

At the time, Rosenbury expressed her disappointment in the results via a letter to the college. The results were a decrease of almost 6 percent from how the college scored in July 2017.

“As the best law school in Florida, UF Law should also have the highest first-time bar passage rate in the state,” Rosenbury wrote in the letter. She added that the college would reach out to those who did not pass and analyze the effectiveness of the support it provided during the summer.

It wasn’t her first message of disappointment to the college. She had sent one months earlier when UF ranked last in the February 2018 exam results. Its last place spot in the February 2018 exam was owed to a 31.8 percent pass rate, or only seven passing scores out of the 22 students who took it.

Even with the encouraging results this year, the school will continue to provide sustained outreach and support to those did not pass, Rosenbury said.

General law school rankings by the U.S. News and World report show that UF Law has improved by 17 spots since 2016, placing at 31 overall, Rosenbury said.

Sofia Marescalco, a 23-year-old UF second-year law student, said the school was too concerned with rising in the rankings and was not prioritizing increasing the bar exam passage rate.

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“They let bar strategies get thrown under the table,” Marescalco said. “But clearly, they listened to our concerns and did something about what was happening.”

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