UH Law School again tops overall average in latest bar exam results

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Oct 17, 2014

The courtyard at the William S. Richardson School of Law on the UH Manoa campus.
The courtyard at the William S. Richardson School of Law on the UH Manoa campus.

Recent UH Law School graduates have outscored others taking the two latest State Bar Exams – the July 2014 exam and the February 2014 exam, according to newly released results.

While 63 percent of all test takers passed the July Bar Exam, 69 percent of UH Law first-time takers passed, with 66 percent of all UH takers passing.

Meanwhile, the February Bar Exam results showed remarkable success for those graduating from the UH Law School’s Evening Part-Time Program, with 89 percent of first-time takers from that program passing the February 2014 test.

In other results from the February test, 71 percent of all UH first-time test takers passed the exam, 62 percent of UH takers passed, and 60 percent of all takers passed.

“We are especially gratified with these results, which show how exceptional our Evening Part-Time Program students are, especially considering they spend long days at work or caring for family, and then come to Law School for classes that sometimes last late into the evening,” said Law Dean Avi Soifer.

“We attract professionals and non-traditional students from all walks of life.  They are people who may have longed to attend law school in Hawaiʻi while working and caring for their families and, until this program came along, who never had the chance to pursue their dream.”

The William S. Richardson Law School’s Evening Part-Time Program – just six years old – is designed for mid-career professionals, and is tailored to meet the needs of those who may find it difficult to attend law school full time during the day. Evening Part-Time Program students usually graduate in four years from law school rather than the usual three years.

Associate Faculty Specialist Liam Skilling ’07 is director of both the Evening Part-Time Program and the Academic Success Program.

“The students of the Evening Part-Time Program come from incredibly diverse personal and professional backgrounds,” Skilling noted. “They are teachers, scientists, social workers, engineers and entrepreneurs. What they share is a determination to pursue their goals in the face of significant obstacles. This characteristic serves them when studying for the Bar Exam, and it will serve them in their legal careers.”

The higher bar success rate of UH Law graduates was also the case last year. For the July 2013 Hawai‘i Bar Exam, 73 percent of all test takers passed, while 83 percent of UH first-time test takers passed, and 78 percent of all UH Law test takers passed.

UH’s Richardson Law School is one of the most diverse and most affordable law schools in the country.  It welcomes an array of students from Hawai‘i, the continental U.S. and from around the world.

            In recent rankings, UH Law School was named:

  • Best Environment for minority students, third most diverse faculty, and fifth most chosen by older students by The Princeton Review.
  • Fifth least expensive of top law schools, one of the top 10 law schools where graduates have the least debt, the 26th best Evening Part-Time Program, and the 100th best law school by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Third best law school for state and local clerkships, sixth best law school for clinics, 12th top law school for externships, among the 20 most innovative law schools, and one of the top among 60 best value law schools by The National Jurist/preLaw Magazine.

Richardson School of Law recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary.  Shortly after the Law School opened in 1973 – housed in temporary buildings, and with just 53 students in its inaugural class – unforeseen opportunities quickly opened up.

Today over 2,200 members of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association are Richardson graduates; 3,325 students have received Juris Doctor degrees from UH.  Eighty percent of its graduates stay in Hawaiʻi to work in law, business, government and the non-profit sectors.

And the Law School has an unusually strong track record in seeing its students find employment within a few months of graduation.  Of the 2013 graduating class, for example, 87.5 percent of the respondents reported being employed or pursuing advanced degrees within nine months of graduation.

Added Dean Soifer, “We are proud to attract outstanding students who come to Richardson because of our ethic of accessibility, first-rate teaching, and a unique spirit of ‘ohana. Our students are already high achievers, and the legal education they get here opens greater opportunities for them as well as creating a supportive network of friends for life.”

The Law School began accepting applications on October 1, 2014, for the class entering Fall 2015. Priority deadline for applications is February 1, 2015. Additional information is available on the Law School website at: https://www.law.hawaii.edu/admissions.