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April 19, 2009

FSU puzzled by state bar exam results;
Florida, Miami passing rates also low

By Doug Blackburn
Democrat Senior Writer

Florida State University is used to seeing its law school graduates fare well on the state bar exam.

Exhibit A: They ranked No. 1 among the stateís law schools in February 2008 for the percentage passing the bar. They also ranked No. 1 in July 2007 and July 2006.

But FSUís graduates slipped badly this past February, with only 65.0 percent passing the two-part examination.

That put FSU at No. 6 out of 10 law schools in Florida, and below the 70.7 percent state average for passage.

Law school graduates at University of Florida and Miami, traditionally FSUís primary competitors for the top ranking, fared even worse than FSU. Florida had 64.9 percent passing; Miami had 61.1.

ďItís disappointing and puzzling,Ē FSU College of Law Dean Donald Weidner said. ďWeíre going to ask for further particulars so we can further study what happened here.

ďAll things being equal, itís something you want to do well on. Itís not something I dismiss lightly.Ē

There were 784 law school graduates who took the bar exam Feb. 24-25 in Tampa, including 377 who didnít attend Florida law schools. Twenty-six out of 40 FSU students passed.

Florida International and Stetson universities had the best percent passing, 81.5 and 80.0 percent, respectively.