Saturday, November 01, 2008

One Thousand New Lawyers

Actually, 1,016, to be exact. Yesterday, the Ohio Supreme Court announced the names of individuals who passed the July 2008 bar exam. Congratulations to them all. Swearing-in ceremonies are scheduled for November 17 in Columbus.

Of local note, 65 of the newly-minted attorneys boast the UC College of Law as their alma mater. We should extend particular good wishes to local bloggers Christopher St. Pierre, formerly (?) of Cogitation, and Brad Thomas of the UrbanCincy Blog.

Over the next several months, there will no doubt be much hand-wringing, consternation, and several administrative and faculty meetings at UC. Its overall bar passage rate was 81% (82% for first-time test-takers), which placed it last among all Ohio law schools. This is a significant decline from five years ago: its graduates' passage rate on the July 2003 exam was 86% (87% for first-time test-takers), which placed it second among Ohio's nine law schools.

Over the last five years, the College of Law has restructured part of the first-year student curriculum, as well as the way it teaches commercial law (one of the topics covered by the bar exam). Also, UC has dramatically increased clinical opportunities for its students. While clinics offer students an exciting way to learn the law (often through the actual representation of clients under the supervision of a licensed attorney), one wonders if the higher percentage of students involved in clinics means that students are taking fewer bar courses in their second and third years of law school. No doubt, these will all be topics of conversation at the corner of Calhoun and Clifton for quite some time. A school's bar passage rate is one factor many prospective students consider in choosing a law school, as well as part of the criteria used by U.S. News & World Report, which compiles what many believe is the definitive ranking of law schools.

Congratulations again to all those who passed, and welcome to the practice of law!

Post updated to extend kudos to an additional local blogger. If there are other local bloggers in the "now we're lawyers" club, please let us know in the comments.

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