Texas A&M School Of Law Continues To Raise The Bar

After a year marked by nationwide recognition of its accomplishments, the Texas A&M University School of Law is ending 2020 with the highest bar pass rate in the state for the calendar year – with one of its students earning the highest score.

The school’s overall Texas Bar Examination pass rate for first-time test takers in 2020 was 89.89 percent, followed by Baylor University with 88.89 percent and the University of Texas with 88.64 percent.

“We’re pleased, but not surprised, that our graduates earned the highest pass rate in Texas this year,” said Dean Robert B. Ahdieh. “At the intersection of the caliber of students A&M Law is now lucky to recruit, the quality of education that our expanded faculty is able to provide them, and the grit and determination that characterize them as Aggies, the foundation for their success could not be more firm.”

The Fort Worth-based law school, which Texas A&M acquired from Texas Wesleyan University in 2013, has seen a jump in national reputation and ranking among its peers in recent years. The law school has risen more than 100 places in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, just this year jumping 23 spots to No. 60 in the United States.

There’s also been a marked improvement in the school’s pass rate on the Texas Bar Examination. For the July 2013 exam, the last year the school was affiliated with Texas Wesleyan, the pass rate was 85.8 percent. The pass rate for the September 2020 exam, which was the substitute for the traditional July exam due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pass rate was 95.6 percent.

Ahdieh, who also holds the Anthony G. Buzbee Endowed Dean’s Chair, said the law school is on the rise by every measure.

“The excellence of our graduates – from their academic caliber to their moral character – has long been known to us,” Ahdieh said. “We hope this latest indicator of their achievement will help make the broader legal community aware of all that they bring to the table.”

The school has also seen a considerable increase in the recruitment of its students by a broad range of legal employers, including large law firms and the judiciary, according to Assistant Dean Arturo Errisuriz. The employment rate for 2019 graduates stood at 95 percent.

Errisuriz attributes this success to a number of factors.

“Among them are the strength, quality and promise of our student body and the loyalty of the Aggie Network – with former students in legal practice looking to our graduates when they hire,” he said.

And it’s not just students who are grabbing attention. In October, Professor Thomas W. Mitchell was named a 2020 fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Mitchell was awarded the “Genius” grant, which is among the most prestigious prizes in academia, for his work on legal reforms designed to help disadvantaged families avoid losing their land, homes and real estate wealth.

The School of Law has been the “best-kept secret in Texas” for the past several years, said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young, who will transition in the spring to working full time at the law school and the Bush School of Government and Public Service — both of which are appointments he’s held for years.

“Now, with a MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ on the faculty, with the highest bar passage rate in Texas, and with a recent graduate earning the top score on the Texas Bar Exam, the law school is starting to get the recognition it deserves,” Young said. “It’s no wonder that the number of students who want to attend Texas A&M Law is exploding, and that more and more companies are eager to hire its graduates.”

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp echoed this praise, saying the school becomes more impressive each semester.

“Our highly achieving students are showing the rest of the state that the law school at Texas A&M is producing some of the finest lawyers in Texas,” Sharp said. “Congratulations to our graduates and to Dean Bobby Ahdieh for giving us something to celebrate as we close out 2020.”

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