COL-GradsDuring the months spent awaiting the results from the February 2014 California State Bar exam, University of La Verne College of Law Dean Gilbert Holmes said he was anticipating good news.

Yet when the Office of Admissions of the State Bar of California released the results, Dean Holmes had a concise description for what the most recent selection of La Verne Law graduates to take the exam had achieved: Phenomenal.

Preliminary data indicates that La Verne Law’s first-time California Bar exam takers recorded an 87.5% success rate, exceeding by more than 18% the 69% average of all California ABA schools pass rate.

“That’s how I describe it – phenomenal,” Holmes said. “We set high marks in every quartile, and our overall first-time taker result is a direct reflection on the commitment of our students, and our faculty and staff to prepare our graduates to succeed.”

According to the information released by the State Bar, 14 of the 16 La Verne Law graduates who took the California Bar exam for the first time passed. All of those in the law school’s top three GPA quartiles passed – a first for La Verne Law. And even the lowest quartile recorded a 60% pass rate, the law school’s highest first-time pass rate in that group.

In recent years, La Verne Law has dedicated time and resources to the preparation as part of its commitment to expand and enhance bar exam support through its Center for Academic & Bar Readiness (CABR). It has established a customized post-graduation bar review – the Bar Exam Strategic Training (BEST) Program, which is available to La Verne Law students at no additional cost.

All of the first-time takers who passed the February 2014 exam maintained a strong and consistent level of participation in the BEST Program throughout the duration of the bar review period.

“We are extremely proud of the hard work and commitment our students demonstrated in their preparation for the bar exam,” Assistant Dean of CABR Jendayi Saada said. “The Center’s staff and the faculty at La Verne Law provided invaluable support during the bar review period. Everyone from University President Devorah Lieberman and Dean Holmes to all support staff and many alums come together as a team to ensure our students are in the best position to succeed. This is just one example of the La Verne Law Experience.”

While the number of students taking the February 2014 Bar exam is too few to extrapolate a sound empirical study, Dean Holmes said he believes the first-time bar pass rate, when combined with the July 2013 California Bar exam results (68% first-time taker pass rate, a 13% improvement from July 2012), reflect the strong, positive developments at La Verne Law.

“I believe we are seeing the leading edge of a sustainable trend in bar passage,” Dean Holmes said. “Our La Verne Law Model of Legal Education – which hinges on a curriculum that combines legal theory, lawyering skills and ethics, and is rooted in experiential learning and bar readiness – and our commitment to affordability and accessibility through our True Tuition Model, shows we are an institution that is developing and implementing innovative and effective ways to educate and train the lawyers and leaders of the future.”

Established in 1970, La Verne Law has been provisionally approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association effective March 16, 2012. Located in Ontario, Calif., it is the only ABA approved law school in Inland Southern California, which includes eastern Los Angeles County as well as San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

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