First-Time UH Bar Exam Pass Rate is Highest in 5 Years

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William S. Richardson School of Law 2013 graduates. PC: Mike Orbito

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa reports that the pass rate for graduates of the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa who took the Hawaiʻi bar exam for the first time in July was 81%, up from 76% in July 2017. It is the highest pass rate for first-time UH bar exam takers since 2013.

Overall bar passage rates declined nationally at law schools that have so far publicly reported their graduates’ scores for the July bar exam. Hawaiʻi results, released Oct. 5, show the pass rate for all July bar exam takers was 71%, down one percentage point from the previous July. The UH overall pass rate was 70% compared to 75% the year before.

“We have excellent, highly motivated students and faculty members who have focused increasing attention on preparations for this challenging exam,” said Dean Avi Soifer.


Soifer praised Liam Skilling, director of academic success and director of the Evening Part Time Program.

“Liam has incredible energy and an abiding commitment to the success of all our students during law school and as they take the bar exam after they graduate,” Soifer added.

It’s great to see so many of our first-time takers passing this year,” said Skilling. “The whole law school is deeply invested in seeing all our graduates succeed. Professors Linda Krieger and Troy Andrade undertook an important study of factors impacting bar success and, for the past two years, faculty members who teach subjects tested on the bar have held review sessions for our graduates studying for the bar exam.”


The law school also has a tradition of encouraging graduates taking the two-day bar exam in February or July—Skilling and Associate Dean Ronette Kawakami bring the test-takers candy, beverages and snacks, including sandwiches and musubi.

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