The USC Gould School of Law posted the second highest bar passage rate in California — one of the strongest showings in the country.
With a bar passage rate of 86.7 percent, USC Gould was second only to Stanford Law, which announced an 88.8 percent passage. Bar passage rates among other top California law schools were 84.8 percent at Berkeley Law, 85.4 percent UCLA Law and 79.8 percent at UC Irvine Law.
USC Gould’s impressive bar passage is especially significant given that the California Bar had the lowest pass rate in years — only 60 percent of first-time takers passed in 2015. Less than 47 percent of overall exam takers passed in the state.
“I am extremely proud of our graduates,” said Dean Andrew Guzman. “Our impressive results truly speak to our outstanding faculty and programs that prepare our students exceptionally well.”
A test of stamina
The California bar exam is a three-day exercise that examines analytical rigor, creativity and in many cases, sheer stamina. For more than a decade, USC Gould has been one of the top performers among California law schools.
USC Gould graduates said that small classes, approachable faculty and rigorous curriculum prepared them for the bar.
Raymond Nhan ’15, who works at the Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento, said USC Gould prepared him by placing him “among many bright minds.”
“I had many great classmates and professors who pushed me to think critically about major legal issues,” Nhan said. “Going through rigorous discussions in bar and non-bar classes helped me develop the necessary thinking skills to succeed on the bar essays and the performance tests.”
Nationwide, USC’s bar passage topped Harvard’s 86 percent passage as well as New York University (85.7), Michigan (84.9) and Columbia (83.9).
“Our graduates are especially remarkable given that California has one of the most challenging exams in the country,” Guzman said.