School of Law fourth in state

In 2005, St. John’s School of Law had an 89 percent bar passage rate for those taking the test for the first time, ranking the university fourth out of 15 in-state competitors according to the New York Law Journal.

The only colleges to rank ahead of St John’s were Cornell, New York University and Columbia, which it trailed by only one percentage point.

Of the 268 St. Johns students who took the bar exam for the first time in 2005, 238 earned a passing grade.

Considering that the score for the test is five points higher than in recent years, St. John’s rating is an impressive feat. St. John’s is one of only five schools on the list whose percentage rate has increased in recent years. In 2003, the University had a passing rate for first-time test takers of 85 percent. In 2004, that number increased to 87 percent.

The increasing passage rate is a monumental step for the University, as very few schools are seeing higher numbers. Even the state average is down to 76 percent from 77 percent in 2004.

Mary C. Daly, dean of the School of Law, attributes the high passage rate to many factors. She credits the hard work of the graduates who study diligently and the superb teaching of the faculty.

“Each year the students are getting stronger,” Daly said. “Each year’s class is a little better than the rest.”

Daly hopes that the percentage keeps increasing and that it does not slip. Next year, she said she would like to beat Columbia and take its third-place ranking. However, Daly said that she is sure Columbia will be working very hard to get its percentage rate back on the rise.

Katie Melnick, a 24-year-old law student at St. Johns, was very happy about the ranking. She made a choice to come to St. John’s after considering Cordozo, which ranked sixth on the list.

“It makes me feel good about my choice of coming to St. John’s,” Melnick said.

Daly, however, stressed that there is more to the School of Law than just the passage rate.

“It’s not just the bar passage rate that makes St. John’s outstanding,” Daly said. “It’s new programs, outstanding conferences and symposia, and excellent teaching in the classroom.”