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A Note from the Office of Dean Leonard M. Baynes

With the completion of the John M. O’Quinn Law Building, some law alumni have asked me what is next? We continue to strive for excellence and further prominence of the University of Houston Law Center. This starts with ongoing efforts to admit students with ever stronger entry credentials. It also means making sure that students who attend UH Law Center succeed and outperform their peers through high bar passage rates and employment outcomes. I am proud that the UH Law Center excels in each of these areas, and we plan to build on our success.

 

First, each law student was admitted to the UH Law Center because our admissions professionals in reviewing their files, determined their excellence, likelihood of future outstanding accomplishments, and ultimate bar passage. UH Law Center’s bar passage rate is very strong. Our alumni consistently outperform the state average for first-time bar passage and the ABA standard for the ultimate two-year-after-graduation bar passage rate. Our ultimate bar passage rate for graduates who sat for a bar examination within two years of graduation is almost 92%. Over the last five years (i.e., the 2018-2022 administrations), Law Center graduates who take the Texas bar exam for the first-time pass at a weighted average rate of almost 85% across all administrations. Since 2014, five Law Center graduates have achieved one of the highest three scores on the Texas bar exam in their respective exam cycles.

 

It’s all impressive! But I say to myself, if our students can pass the bar exam within two years after graduation at almost 92%, why can’t they pass at that higher rate the first time they take the test? There are a lot of reasons for this differential, starting with finances since bar prep courses are expensive and student loans run out during the summer that they are studying. Other reasons could be family or challenges that arise while studying for the bar exam. It could be lack of grit and determination. It could be a lack of sufficient preparation. We’re putting resources in each of these areas.

 

The Law Center takes bar exam performance seriously. The Law Center has studied the bar passage rates and related indicators of bar success. In response, the Law Center recently hired two full-time faculty members as well as a Director of Academic Support to address bar preparation and related course development. Along with specially trained adjunct professors, these individuals offer year-round instruction, informational programming, one-on-one support and counseling to students, and intervention plans, with hoped-for improved academic performance prior to graduation.

 

To this end, the Law Center developed a for-credit course and a series of post-graduation workshops for graduating 3Ls and alumni to hone their bar skills. Moreover, a mandatory mock mini-MBE exam was also administered to 1L students. In addition, each year, I personally do a workshop to students studying for the bar on grit, determination, perseverance, and success.

 

Second, a key Law Center strength is the consistent achievement of employment for over 90% of recent Law Center graduates (i.e., the classes of 2018-2021) within 10 months of graduation. With respect to bar admission required/J.D. advantage/full-time/long-term positions, the most recent employment statistics published by the ABA showed that almost 85% of Law Center graduates from the class of 2021 had secured such positions—an increase over the almost 82% reported in 2020. Our Career Development Office does an excellent job getting our students ready for job interviews and providing them with job opportunities. But with the many employment opportunities in Houston, we can do much better on these metrics. Many thanks to our alumni who have stepped up in helping to identify additional job opportunities, circulating student resumes to their firms and other employers, and even working with some students to further perfect their interview skills.

 

You can help us elevate these important metrics by helping us identify job prospects for our students and by serving as a mentor for our students. For more information on how you can help, please contact Tiffany J. Tucker, Assistant Dean for Career Development at tjtucke2@central.uh.edu. Thank you for your consideration and assistance.

Sincerely,

Leonard M. Baynes
Dean & Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center

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