Carolina Law Ranks No. 1 Among North Carolina Law Schools for First Time Bar Takers

September 7, 2018

Among North Carolina law schools, UNC School of Law had the highest-ranking bar passage rate for first time test takers for the July 2018 North Carolina Bar Exam. Eighty-six percent (86.79) of the 106 Carolina Law graduates who took the North Carolina bar exam for the first time in July 2018 passed, according to exam results released by the state’s Board of Law Examiners. Carolina Law’s passage rate exceeded the overall state passage rate of 72.5 percent for first time test takers by over 14 percent.

Excluding Duke, which had 15 total test takers sit for the exam, Carolina Law also ranked first in total bar passage. Combining the first time test takers and repeat test takers together, Carolina Law’s total bar passage rate was 81.90 percent (116 total takers; 95 passing). This overall passage rate was 24.51 percent above the overall state average (57.39 percent).

The school’s Academic Excellence Program (AEP) provides all students with resources to aid their legal study, including one-on-one bar preparation for 3L students. “This year we increased our summer bar support, instituted a series of summer bar essay workshops and increased enrollment in our restructured bar preparation courses,” says O.J. Salinas, AEP director and clinical associate professor of law. “I am pleased to see such great numbers for our Class of 2018, and I look forward to helping prepare the Class of 2019 for the upcoming Uniform Bar Examination.”

The Class of 2018 was the second class to graduate under a formalized academic success policy that empowers more students to receive individualized assistance during the final two years of law school. Carolina Law students also benefit from a rigorous first-year research and writing program in which full-time professors comment regularly on students’ written work in small, workshop-style classes and frequent individual conferences.

“Our rigorous writing curriculum and the extensive individual feedback that our professors provide to students on their legal analysis will continue to be an asset for our bar passage rate as North Carolina transitions to the Uniform Bar Examination,” says Salinas.

The law school’s Research, Reasoning, Writing and Advocacy (RRWA) program, now in its eighth year as a full-year, six-credit program, ranks No. 12 in legal writing by U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” During two intensive semesters in RRWA, first year students work in small sections taught by full-time faculty members to develop key skills for legal practice, including legal research, writing and analysis.

“I want to thank O.J. Salinas and our entire faculty and staff for this outstanding result. The support our students receive while they are here is inspiring,” says Martin H. Brinkley ’92, dean and Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor of Law. “The wonderful classroom experiences this school brings to bear year after year, through our great teaching faculty, means our graduates leave here knowing how to think and write. The role those skills play in our students’ success on the bar exam and in their professional lives is clear.”

-September 7, 2018