Sturm bar passage rate hits 90 percent
October 6, 2011
By: Chase Squires

An intensive, strategic push to improve the Colorado bar exam passage rates of DU Sturm College of Law graduates is paying off.

The results from the July 2011 bar exam are in, and DU law students posted a 90 percent passage rate for first-time takers. That’s before appeals, which could raise the passage rate.

Law Dean Martin Katz says the results prove that DU’s concentrated focus on helping ensure graduates will be able to enter the field and practice is working.

“We are now approaching where we need to be in terms of consistent performance on the bar,” Katz says. “This excellent result is the product of a lot of hard work by a lot of people including our faculty, a group of dedicated alumni and trustees, and particularly our graduates.”

The passage rate is up from 88 percent last year and reflects a vast improvement from earlier in the decade when passage rates had slipped to unacceptable levels.

Katz notes that the passage rates are about 5 percent above the overall state passage rate, and he credits the steady improvement to a four-pronged bar passage initiative that includes: admission policies designed to accept students with the best chance at passing the exam; heightened law school performance standards; an enhanced focus on bar passage for students while they are in school; and a free “Bar Success Program” that preps students for the exam after graduation.

Scott Johns, who directs the bar passage initiatives, joined the dean in celebrating the passage rate.

“I am absolutely thrilled to see that the hard work and dedicated efforts of our graduates this summer have, once again, paid off with an excellent bar pass rate,” Johns says. “Congratulations to each of them; I’m so very proud of our graduates.”

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