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Willamette's law students are among those best prepared to pass the bar exam

Willamette University's College of Law ranks 12th in the nation for best preparing students to pass the bar exam, according to the National Jurist magazine.

“It shows the truth of what we’ve long been saying — we’re one of the best schools for bar preparation, not only in the region, but also in the nation,” says Dean Peter Letsou. “It’s the quality of our academic programs, the quality of our teaching and the high standards we set for our students.”

The magazine evaluated 191 U.S. law schools, and Willamette ranked higher than any other school in Oregon. The only other Pacific Northwest law school to place in the top 25 was the University of Washington.

The magazine created a formula that predicts how schools will perform on the bar examination, based on the profile of their classes. The National Jurist then ranked law schools by comparing the bar-passage rates with the predicted rates.

The schools that most outperformed the predication received the highest rankings. Editors used bar-exam passage rates from 2008 and 2009, the most recent years available, mistakenly identified in the magazine as rates from 2009 and 2010.

Letsou credits Willamette's success to the emphasis it places on ensuring all students receive rigorous training, particularly in foundational courses that must be mastered by all lawyers.

“We take teaching very seriously at Willamette and we have high expectations for our students,” Letsou says. “We’re committed to preparing our students for successful and rewarding careers — and those careers begin with success on the bar examination.”

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03-05-2012