Oct 21, 2008

Liberty Law raises the ‘bar’ ... again

by Anthony Barone

For the second year in a row, Liberty University School of Law students earned exemplary scores on the Virginia State Bar Exam. Of the 17 graduated seniors who took the test in July, 16 of them passed yielding a 94.4 percent passing rate.

“The percentage of students in our second graduating class who passed the bar exam has exceeded all of our highest expectations just as the first graduating class did last year,” Jerry Falwell Jr. said. “Liberty University School of Law is far ahead of schedule in achieving my father’s goal of training lawyers committed to Christian values who will someday become the politicians and judges who will lead our government and strictly construe the U.S. Constitution.”

With a passing rate respectfully over 90 percent, the school now ranks third among schools that took Virginia’s bar exam, falling closely behind the University of Virginia (96.8) and Georgetown University (95.6). As Georgetown is housed within the confines of D.C., Liberty is considered second in the state for passage percentage rates.

In its first year, Liberty’s graduating class received an unprecedented 89-percent passage rate on the nation wide bar exam.

“Our bar pass is phenomenal and places Liberty in roughly the top five percent of all law schools in the country. Usually a law school struggles to break the 70 percent barrier and most schools never rise above 80 percent,” Dean of the Law School Mat Staver said. “Last year Liberty stunned the legal education community with a bar pass rate of 89.1 percent.”

The school attributes its success to rigorous courses, real-life experience and belief in God.

“Other law schools typically require their students to participate in one or two semesters of lawyering skills,” Dean of Admissions Abigail Tuomala said.

In comparison to law school norms, students of Liberty’s law school are required to take six semesters of lawyering skills.

The school provides students with a library and three mock courtrooms, one of which is an exact replica of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

“Proverbs 1:7 says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,’” Staver said. “True wisdom is found only when God is central to our learning.”

The Liberty University School of Law, which characterizes itself as a “distinctively evangelical law school,” attributes its success to this belief in God and keeping him the center focus of all things.

“We are here to stay, and we will shake the foundations of legal education from a distinctly Christian perspective,” Staver said. “We expect our students to succeed, and we challenge them to reach beyond their dreams.”

Liberty’s School of Law achieved provisional approval to be accredited within an 18-month period, a record amount of time compared to usual wait times of three years. The school is currently working toward full approval in the near future. With 217 enrolled students, the three year program is well on its way to the goal of 450 law students.

“With in three to four years we hope to reach our final goal of 450 students,” said Tuomala. “We can comfortably accommodate that number of students and by split sectioning classes we will keep a low student:teacher ratio.”


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