The Law School Transparency report is an attempt to finally set some public standards for the legal academy. Its risk scale was created by former law professor David Frakt, who developed it based on data from students at Western State College of Law, where he was tasked with improving bar passage rates. When Frakt and I spoke on the phone, he broke it down this way for me:
A “high risk” student, with 147 to 149 on the LSAT, stands a 50 to 60 percent chance of passing the bar exam on his or her first try.
A “very high risk” student, with a 145 to 146 on the LSAT, has a less than 50 percent chance of passing.
An “extreme risk student,” with a 144 or below, has less than a one-in-three chance of passing.
In the end, these are really rules of thumb. “Intuitively we understand that a high LSAT score gives you a high likelihood of passing the bar and a low LSAT score gives you a low chance of passing the bar. But we don’t know where to draw the line, where below a certain point you have a negligible chance of passing,” Frakt admitted. Still, Law School Transparency’s report provides other evidence supporting Frakt’s findings. The organization convinced an anonymous law school as well the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law to share their bar passage rates by LSAT score. At Sturm, “high risk” students passed the bar 57 percent of the time on their first try. At the anonymous school, they passed just 23 percent of the time on their first go, and 58 percent of the time after multiple tries.