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Penn State Law in University Park bar passage rates skyrocket

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The bar exam is the most important test a lawyer can take and the first part of becoming an official attorney. Passing the bar is not an easy feat—with many students taking the comprehensive exam multiple times before they pass. In July 2021, Penn State Law in University Park had 100% bar passage rates for first-time test-takers in 17 of the 23 jurisdictions in which its graduates sat for the bar.

In jurisdictions where five or more graduates sat, Penn State Law had 100% bar passage in states including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas. The prestigious law school ended with an 89.47% bar pass rate for 2021.

“The success of our students and these future lawyers, despite many COVID-related challenges, is a testament to their resiliency and the support provided by our law school community,” said Keith Elkin, associate dean for academic success and professor of legal skills.

Elkin is known to many as “the Bar Whisperer.” He prepares students to take the exam with fall and spring bar courses, as well as a summer bar prep course, that yield great results. With over 10 years of experience under his belt, he has developed a deep connection to Penn State Law students and their future endeavors.

Penn State Law graduate, Bianca Gutierrez, ‘21, shared how Elkin constantly motivated and believed in his students. “I was nervous about taking the Massachusetts bar exam—even debating whether or not I should take it until the very last second,” said Gutierrez. “[Professor Elkin] told me that I had to give it my all. It was that conversation that finally put me at ease.”

A few highlights from 2021:

  • In jurisdictions where five or more graduates sat, Penn State Law in University Park had:
    • 100% bar passage in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas;   
    • 95.65% in New York (22/23); and,
    • 80% in PA (20/25) and DC (8/10).

These victories are a testament to the time and effort that Elkin takes to prepare Penn State Law students for the bar. His bar prep classes are legendary. Courses such as BAREX 900 help students prepare for the Multi-State Bar Exam (MBE).

In this special bar prep course, students review heavily-tested topics, timed practice questions, and review and discuss multiple-choice questions and answers. Due to the fact that this class is not focused on any particular state, all students benefit— regardless of where they are sitting for the bar exam.

Another course available to students is a commercial review class that students can take before the bar exam.

“I can only thank [Professor Elkin] for drilling [torts] and staying after class, numerous times, to answer my questions,” said Penn State Law 2021 graduate Dallas Kephart, “Additionally, [his] help with torts carried over to the essays with abnormally dangerous activities.”

Kephart recently served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Patricia A. McCullough on the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania and is, currently, running for state representative in Pennsylvania.

Elkin is committed to each students’ success. He, as well as the entire Penn State Law in University Park community, looks forward to celebrating their professional successes in the future.

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