McGeorge graduates score second-highest bar pass rate in CA

law students

Jackson Hadden ’21 and Aliya Gorelick ’21 participate in the McGeorge School of Law commencement ceremonies on May 28.

University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law students earned the second highest bar exam pass rate for first-time test takers among American Bar Association accredited law schools in California for the second consecutive year.

McGeorge graduates also had the third highest pass rate for the California bar exam among all ABA-accredited law schools in the United States.

Graduates from the law school’s Accelerated Honors Program passed the California Bar Exam on their first attempt, maintaining the law school’s 100% pass rate for honors program graduates. Statewide, only 53% of first-time test-takers and 34% of total test-takers passed the February 2022 bar exam.

The honors program at McGeorge School of Law is the only honors accelerated JD program in the country, allowing students to obtain their law licenses six months early and to begin practicing law ahead of their counterparts in traditional three-year, full-time programs. Graduates have the advantage of being in the job market early and save a semester of expenses.

Program alumnus Jackson Hadden ’21 passed the February bar exam and started practicing law at the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office, where he works on trials in the Misdemeanor Unit.

“The Accelerated Honors Program allowed me to start practicing sooner compared to people on a standard track,” Hadden said. “I would not even have taken the bar by now if I hadn’t graduated early, which is a huge perk.”

Founded in 2018, the honors program was designed by Professor Emeritus Dorothy Landsberg and then Associate Dean Michael Colatrella. Students in the honors program enroll in regular courses and electives, in addition to a special one-unit seminar course taught by Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz.

After their first year, students take a heavier course load than traditional JD students, consisting of 17 units per semester. Additionally, students complete a 10-week honors externship during the summer.

McGeorge covers the cost of tuition for summer externship courses, saving students thousands of dollars while they gain placements such as Trial and Appellate Judges’ chambers, the California Attorney General's Office, the Fair Political Practice Commission, and other non-profit and governmental agencies.

“The results speak for themselves,” Schwartz said. “We are proud that the rigor of the program continues to pay off in the success of the students.”