KU law school 1st in nation for 100% ultimate bar exam pass rate

LAWRENCE – All University of Kansas School of Law graduates in calendar year 2021 passed the bar exam within two years of graduation, according to the American Bar Association. The accrediting body recently released a compilation report of its findings. Among 195 ABA-approved law schools, KU posted the highest rate for ultimate pass rate nationally.

The ultimate bar passage rate for law schools is a measurement of a graduating class’s bar exam success over a two-year period. Graduates have four chances to take the exam during that two-year period. While passing the bar on the first try is optimal, passing eventually is critical since the ABA maintains an accreditation standard that at least 75% of a law school’s test-taking graduates must pass a bar exam within two years of earning a diploma.

In addition, nearly 92% of KU Law graduates who took a bar exam for the first time during the 2023 calendar year passed. This achievement places KU Law 26th in the nation for first-time bar pass rate. 

“Because KU’s first-time pass rate is so high, it only makes sense that our ultimate pass rate is also high,” said Dean Stephen Mazza. “But the fact that our students achieved a 100% ultimate rate is extraordinary and speaks to their grit and determination.”

KU Law graduates who took the Kansas and Missouri bar exams for the first time in 2023 passed at rates well above the state averages. In Missouri, 100% of KU test-takers passed the bar on their first attempt. That showing outpaces by 15.7% the Missouri average of 84.3%. KU graduates taking the Kansas bar exam for the first time in 2023 achieved a 90.5% pass rate, placing the school 13.3% above the Kansas average of 77.2%.

KU Law’s bar passage rates have improved dramatically since the school implemented its Free Bar Prep Program in 2018. The program offers all students a postgraduation Themis Bar Review course that includes a simulated bar exam and a Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination preparation course. The bar prep program also includes a first-year diagnostic exam that tests students’ understanding of core concepts, a bar exam preparation course for credit during the spring of their third year and assistance from the law school’s director of bar preparation when studying for the bar. KU Law graduates who took the bar exam in 2021 were in the first class to participate in all three years of the Free Bar Prep Program.

Alumni gifts support the Free Bar Prep Program, making it possible for KU Law to be one of a few law schools nationally to offer a commercial, postgraduation bar review course at no cost to students.

“While other law schools may offer similar programs, they build the cost for the prep program into tuition,” Mazza said. “At KU, alumni giving helps graduates clear the final hurdle to becoming a lawyer without the financial pressure of paying for a commercial bar review course.”

With an institutional focus on removing obstacles to ensure that a legal education and career is attainable for all students, KU Law has been consistently recognized as a “Best Value Law School” by National Jurist magazine. Currently, KU Law is ranked the No. 4 Best Value Law School in the nation.

Thu, 03/28/2024


Julie Francisco

Media Contacts

Julie Francisco

School of Law