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November 08, 2017


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Deep State Special Legal Counsel

So? Big whoop. My very first trial at 24 years old, I tripped on my "little hands." (Allegory to Donald Trump). Henry Ford's first car was an economic disaster. Apple almost went bankrupt during the 90s.... Everybody deserves a chance. Gosh, its only their first year of operation.

Beau Baez

This is very bad news for UNT. I've taught at two new law schools and know from experience that an inaugural class is different from those that come after it. This is because they are risk-takers and have something to prove to the world. Unless UNT takes immediate and radical steps to address this issue, their bar passage rates will almost certainly go down. Shuffling the chairs on the deck will not do.

Matthew Bruckner

Innovation often requires iteration. I hope the ABA doesn't call the hearse just yet. So long as they keep tuition down and disclose to potential students, why not trust 0Ls to make their own decisions?

al ellis

Stumbles??? What planet are you living on? 59% passage rate is damn good for the first time out. As a practicing trial lawyer for 45 years, I can assure you UNTD Law is on the right track. Those of us in the trenches know LSAT scores are not the be all and the end all. We in the profession are looking for honest, hard working lawyers with grit and determination. That's what UNTD Law is giving us now and will continue to give us in the future. Sorry professor, but I believe you are mistaken on this one.

David Frakt

Al Ellis -

I am living on the planet in which 81% of students at other Texas Law Schools passed the bar the first time, and in which the vast majority of students who start at the school, earn their degrees and graduate three years, later, not less than half like UNT.

I am also living on a planet in which it is widely understood that the bar pass rate at a new law school helps to determine its reputation for many years to come. That is why other recently opened law schools have tried hard to have a strong inaugural class and worked very hard to achieve a high bar pass rate. Just to give you some examples, UC Irvine's inaugural graduating class (2013) had a 91% first time pass rate, including 90% in California, 19% above the state average. Drexel's first pass rate was 90% (2009), third highest in Pennsylvania. Elon's was 83% (2009) Lincoln Memorial's first time pass rate was 81% (2013). Belmont's first-time rate was 71% (2014). So, I have to respectfully disagree that 59% is "damn good for the first time out".

In fairness, two very small law schools have done worse than UNT - Indiana Tech, and Concordia. Indiana Tech shut down within months of the first bad bar result (1 of 12 graduates passed the Indiana bar in the summer of 2016) and its provisional accreditation has now been rescinded. Concordia had a 55% rate in 2015, but that was only with 9 students so it is too small a sample to say much. In 2016, they were around 80%. Their bar pass rate for July 2017 was much higher, 90% in Idaho, according to a former Associate Dean there.

LSAT scores may not be the "be all and the end all" but it is simply indisputable that students with very low LSATs fail out of law school and fail the bar at very high rates. If UNT wants to improve its bar pass rate significantly to be competitive then it has to raise its admission standards.

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

It could be worse. At least The Honorable Justice Roy Moore isn't an alum.


For what it is worth, I believe Frakt has his thumb on the pulse of the issues.

To throw a bone to the other side: is the argument that DFW does not have enough capacity for the masses of non-traditional, full-time working people who can only attend law school part time, and would if oh-only they could? DFW has SMU as well as Wesleyan-turned-TAMU, which managed to score as well as SMU bar-passage-wise this year. Baylor, while not next door as the crow flies, is hardly small potatoes and is just down the road when using the Texas Driving Scale(tm). Hell, I knew people who drove back and forth from Oklahoma to Dallas every day for their work-a-day jobs, and I thought that was crazy back in the 80s. Part-time at Baylor is not impossible by that standard. Throw in some occasional fancy-pants internet distance-learning stuff to keep some of the burden down for folks, and you're set!

I can't see how Texas needs "yet another" law school, especially in the DFW area. Is there really an unmet need? More likely, are folks trying to outdo Florida? Or California?

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