Carolina Law Ranks No. 5 on Overperforming Law Schools on Bar Exam

February 18, 2022

A new study lists 25 law schools that perform higher than expected on the bar exam. UNC School of Law is ranked fifth.

UNC School of Law is No. 5 out of the top 25 overperforming law schools on the bar exam, according to a new study. The study was authored by Christopher J. Ryan Jr., a professor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, and Derek Muller, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, and published on SSRN February 1, 2022.

“Many schools have improved their graduates’ chances of success on the bar exam, and some schools have dramatically outperformed their predicted bar exam passage rates,” wrote the authors in their paper, The Secret Sauce: Examining Law Schools that Overperform on the Bar Exam.

“We began our research by accounting for law schools’ incoming class credentials to predict an expected bar exam passage rate for each ABA-accredited law school,” the authors said. “We then examined each law school’s aggregated performance on the bar exam tests for which its graduates sat based on relative and absolute performance, weighing the difficulty of each state’s bar exam. Through this analysis, we identified law schools that have consistently higher and lower first-time bar exam passage rates over a period of six years: 2014-2019. In addition to identifying overperforming law schools on the bar exam, our methodology is a novel contribution not only to the legal education literature but also to the quantitative methodological literature, given its unique tailoring of the classic value-added modeling design to the realities of the bar exam.”

UNC School of Law landed at No. 9 for bar exam passage for the Class of 2020 out of 196 law schools according to data collected by the American Bar Association.