Law schools currently face a difficult climate: fewer applicants with lower incoming credentials are passing the bar exam at decreasing rates. Law schools seek to understand why bar pass rates are dropping, and what can be done to remedy this problem for future graduates. The present study examined the predictors of Texas Tech University School of Law (“Texas Tech Law”) student success in the classroom and on the bar exam by analyzing admission standards, curricular performance, and extra-curricular engagement.
Texas Tech Law is uniquely situated to provide insights into the factors that contribute to bar exam success. First, the Texas Tech Law student and alumni base has a largely homogenous educational experience in law school. Texas Tech Law does not offer a part-time or night program, nor are students permitted to begin their law studies in the spring semester. As a result, all students at Texas Tech Law are full-time students who begin their legal education in the fall semester. The vast majority of students graduate in May, six semesters after they began law school, and sit for the July bar exam. Moreover, Texas Tech Law has a fairly extensive required curriculum. Of the ninety credits required to earn a Juris Doctor (“J.D.”) degree, all students complete fifty-five credits of required courses—twenty-nine in the first year and twenty-six more in upper-level required courses. These factors produce an alumni base that has a fairly consistent educational experience in law school.