Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Blog

High Performance In These Two Classes is Best Predictors of Bar Success

The recent National Jurist article called What it takes to pass today's nasty bar exam didn't surprise WMU-Cooley Professor Mark Cooney. Not one bit. 

The article states that, "The study found that a student's performance in two first-year courses in particular – civil procedure and legal research and writing – were highly predictive of bar exam performance."

Award-winning Research & Writing Professor and legal writing expert, Mark Cooney, agrees.

"One big reason, in my opinion, is that you simply cannot fudge the writing courses. They measure a student's diligence – his or her attention to detail, willingness to put in the time, concern over refinement and details. These are habits, and they are the habits that produce bar passers. Nothing passes the bar except time and diligence. There's no magic strategy: Put in the time. Learn the rules of law. Answer the question. (Practice.)

"We teach our law students to improve how they apply the law to facts in a meaningful fashion through the written word. Our newly designed curriculum, to address changes on bar exams across the nation, can improve a students' performance in school, on the bar, in externships, and in practice." 

WMU-Cooley's program is designed to start with a student's first day in law school, and continues through graduation. The law school implements strategies to improve the learning experience for law students, provide actual practice experience through clinics and externship opportunities, and ultimately prepares them for the bar exam and to be outstanding attorneys and leaders in our global community. 

More on Teaching Outside the Box

June 26