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54 U. Louisville L. Rev. 35 (2016)
Empirical Reflections: A Statistical Evaluation of Bar Exam Program Interventions
Scott Johns*
Abstract
      Many law school students approach graduation with fearful uncertainty as to whether they can harness their multiple years of legal education to achieve success on the bar exam. At the end of the process lies the earned reward of serving as licensed attorneys. But the bar exam is not just a measurement of the individual; rather, the bar exam measures law schools too. The bar exam provides a public assessment of the fitness of law schools and legal educators to prepare their graduates to serve as practicing attorneys in their chosen fields of endeavor.
      Nevertheless, for law schools, it is not just about the numbers; it is about helping individuals reach their dreams of practicing law. Many law schools have created bar passage program interventions to improve the performance of their graduates on the bar exam. The question, then, is whether such interventions work.
      The purpose of this paper is to provide our evaluation of bar passage program interventions implemented at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law to determine whether the efforts were beneficial, at least to the degree that statistical evaluation might ascertain. In particular, we explored whether there is statistical support for continuing our bar passage programs. Accordingly, we have collected and analyzed data to identify whether particular bar passage programs at the University of Denver are statistically justified. As explained in this paper, the empirical evidence supports our hypothesis that bar passage program interventions translate into higher bar exam scores, particularly for graduates who struggled academically in law school.
* Scott Johns serves as Professor of the Practice of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Scott Johns holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Statistics from Miami University and a J.D. from the University of Colorado. Scott Johns initially developed his pedagogical approach while serving as a former military instructor pilot, aircraft accident investigator, and airline pilot.