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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Milhizer Email Re: July 2009 Bar Exam Results

From: Office of Graduate and Alumni Affairs
Sent: Tue 11/10/2009 6:00 PM
To: All Alumni
Subject: State of Michigan Bar Examination Results

Here is an email message that Dean Milhizer sent to the law school community today and we wanted you to see it as well.

Dear Law School Community,

The State of Michigan July 2009 bar examination results have been released and published. Nineteen graduates of Ave Maria School of Law sat for the July 2009 bar exam for the first time. Fourteen of these graduates passed, resulting in a 74% bar passage rate. Included among the graduates who did not pass are those appealing the test results. The average pass rate for all first-time test takers in Michigan was 88%. Two of three additional graduates, who were not first-time test takers, also passed. The average pass rate for all re-applicants in Michigan was 43%.

We are disappointed that bar passage results in Michigan were not better and believe that they are not reflective of our students' abilities. We understand that this time of transition from Michigan to Florida may have been unsettling to some graduates, especially those who remained in Michigan and took the bar examination there, and that this could have been reflected in the results. This also helps explain why such a relatively small number of our graduates took the Michigan bar examination.

We are undertaking and considering a wide array of specifically-targeted approaches to improve the passage rate of our students. This includes re-examining our bar preparation program under the leadership of a new academic support coordinator, and perhaps offering a for-credit bar preparation course and even more forcefully encouraging students to take commercial bar preparation courses to supplement their law school education. We are also looking for innovative ways to encourage alumni participation in development and admission's efforts to assist in attracting outstanding students to our law school.

I conclude by congratulating the students of the Michigan State Law School for achieving the highest passage rate in the state of Michigan. I cannot help but observe that the MSU law school, having gone through a relocation in the not too distant past that was contentious to some, ultimately became institutionally stronger than ever before. For all the reasons mentioned above, I am confident that as we emerge from our period of transition and become better settled in Florida, the performance of our students on the bar exam will again reach the high levels to which we have grown accustomed. Our faculty and staff have re-affirmed their commitment to create the conditions necessary for every graduate to succeed on the bar examination, and we will devote the effort and resources that are necessary to make good on this commitment.

Sincerely,

Eugene R. Milhizer
Acting Dean

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