McGeorge School of Law graduates earn highest bar pass rate in California

Dean Schwartz presents a diploma to a law school graduate

Graduates from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law earned the highest bar pass rate for first-time test-takers among American Bar Association-accredited law schools in California on the February 2023 bar exam.

This is the third consecutive year McGeorge graduates earned the first or second highest pass rate distinction on the February exam.

McGeorge School of Law and Loyola Law School tied for the best bar pass rate in the state, with 59% of test-takers passing the exam on their first try. By comparison, only 49% of those from accredited California schools and 32.5% of all test-takers passed.

McGeorge graduates also maintained the law school’s pristine, 100% bar exam pass rate for first-time test-takers from the school’s Accelerated Honors Program.

"I sincerely congratulate all of the McGeorge graduates who sat for the February bar exam and passed it. Every single one of them inspired me this winter with their dedication, determination and overall positive attitudes,” said Lindsay Harrington, the director of bar support and assistant professor of law.

McGeorge has the only honors accelerated JD program in the country, allowing students to obtain their law licenses six months early and begin practicing ahead of their counterparts in traditional three-year, full-time programs. Program graduates save a semester of expenses and are very competitive and successful job applicants.

Program alumnus and valedictorian Tom Salazar ’22 said the Accelerated Honors Program provided him with the necessary tools to succeed on the California Bar Exam.

“An externship I did as part of the honors program gave me a first look at how real lawyering works, and the small size of the cohort studying for the exam made bar prep more manageable,” Salazar said. “I am forever grateful for these opportunities.”

Founded in 2018, the honors program was designed by Professor Emeritus Dorothy Landsberg and then-Associate Dean Michael Colatrella. Students in the honors program enroll in regular courses and electives in addition to a special one-unit seminar course taught by Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz.

After their first year, students take a heavier course load than traditional JD students, consisting of 17 units per semester. Additionally, students complete a 10-week honors externship during the summer. McGeorge covers the cost of tuition for summer externship courses, saving students thousands of dollars while they gain experience in placements such as Trial and Appellate Judges’ chambers, the California Attorney General's Office, the Fair Political Practice Commission and other non-profit and governmental agencies.

McGeorge’s bar exam success comes on the heels of other accolades. In May, McGeorge was ranked No. 9 in the nation for its trial advocacy program by U.S. News & World Report. The law school also received national recognition for Legal Writing (No. 32), Alternative Dispute Resolution (No. 34), part-time law program (No. 37) and International Law (No. 38).

Recently, preLaw Magazine recognized the academic strengths of McGeorge School of Law in public policy and government law. McGeorge was also ranked as the No. 14 most diverse law school in the country.