St. John’s Law Among Top Schools For Bar Exam Passage

Despite 34-year national low, Law students impress with scores

Cara Yesko, Staff Writer

St. John’s University’s School of Law has earned a new accolade.

This November, the New York Law Journal released rankings which placed the law school fifth on a list which ranked the percent of first-time pass rates for the July 2018 bar exam for New York law schools statewide.

With an 87 percent pass rate, St. John’s Law now stands at five percentage points above the statewide average rate of 83 percent for accredited universities, and not far behind some of the state’s best law schools, including Cornell and Fordham.

In 2018, they had first-time pass rates of 94.1 and 89.1 percent, respectively.

St. John’s Law’s fifth place ranking is even more noteworthy when considering the decline in Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) scores within New York and nationwide in recent years.

According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the drop in the score results has reached a 34-year low.

This trend may be due to a decreasing standard of qualifications among applicants who are being admitted to law schools, or from a change in the MBE test-format.

Despite this decline, Susan Landrum, the Law School’s assistant dean for academic achievement, went on to note that St. John’s Law students are again among the top in the area and have thrived in its rankings above other schools in the state.

Fostering a supportive and accommodating learning environment for law students during June and July as they prepare for the bar exam is at the forefront of this mission, according to St. John’s website.

In a revamped bar preparation curriculum, students have benefited from:

-Study tips distributed via newsletters,

-Practice tests given under realistic test-taking conditions,

-Individualized exam strategy counseling and

-Mealtime study breaks during the week (thanks to donors).

The University’s administration has been active in this progress as well.

Students had the chance to participate in group activities, such as “Bar Exam Jeopardy,” that were organized by the Dean of St. John’s School of Law, Michael A. Simmons, and bar exam related topical workshops taught by Professor Robert A. Ruescher.

These initiatives are implemented throughout the course of the three to four years of a student’s education, according to the University’s website.

“Our graduates have responded positively to this extra level of support,” Landrum said on the University’s website. “They have the camaraderie of their classmates, a familiar and comfortable study environment, and a wealth of resources that we offer to help them achieve on the bar exam. At this most vital time on their professional path, they know that we’re here for them every step of the way.”

St. John’s School of Law is tied with Brooklyn Law for an 83rd place ranking in the 2018 ‘Best Law Schools’ list published by U.S. News and World Report.

They also have a large list of alumni that includes former New York governors Mario Cuomo and Hugh Carey, former Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and Screenwriter Terence Winter.