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A scene from a Florida bar exam. (Photo: Tampa Convention Center)

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Low going: Florida Bar exam results again under 60 percent

The passage rate for first-time Florida Bar winter exam takers continues to stay in a ditch.

Of 637 first-time takers in the February examination, 369 passed the bar, or 57.9 percent, according to a Monday release from the state’s Board of Bar Examiners.

That’s only a 0.2 percent uptick from this time last year, when 57.7 percent of first-timers passed — 433 out of 751.

The highest pass rate in recent years still is 80.2 percent from February 2013, when there were 819 first-timers.

Like many state bar exams, Florida’s is given twice a year: In late February and late July. Both administrations of the test are held at the Tampa Convention Center.

More law students traditionally take the exam in the summer, however, immediately after graduation and bar review. A smaller number, including those who fail the summer exam, take the bar in the winter.

The total of all test-takers for this February was 1,762, with 445 approved for admission to The Florida Bar.

Here are the February 2018 passage rates broken down by individual Florida law schools or other category:

Florida International University College of Law – 85 percent.

Ave Maria School of Law – 84.6 percent.

Florida State University College of Law – 76.7 percent.  

Those already admitted to the practice of law elsewhere – 75 percent.  

Florida Coastal School of Law – 62.1 percent.

Stetson University College of Law – 56 percent.  

University of Miami School of Law – 56 percent.

Nova Southeastern University College of Law – 50 percent.

Barry University School of Law – 41 percent.

St. Thomas University College of Law – 38.9 percent.

Florida A&M University College of Law – 36.7 percent.  

Graduates of non-Florida law schools – 36.6 percent.

University of Florida College of Law – 31.8 percent.

Statistics for previous exams are here.

Updated 4:30 p.m. — Laura A. Rosenbury, dean of the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, issued the following statement on the school’s showing. 

“We are beyond disappointed in the performance of our students on the February bar exam. The results are utterly unacceptable given the caliber of our students and the quality of their education.

“The efforts we undertook prior to the February bar exam were clearly insufficient. We will be increasing the support we provide to the students taking the July, 2018 bar exam.

“We have a long tradition at UF Law of respecting our students’ autonomy and control over the courses they take. Given these shocking and disheartening results, we are rethinking this approach and doubling down on our intervention strategy.

“These results are a clear wake-up call for the entire law school. Faculty and staff will do our part by providing support, resources, and encouragement to students. We have no doubt our students will rise to this challenge.”

 

Written By

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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