Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

College of Law News

Willamette ranks among top schools in nation for bar preparation

The College of Law is ranked 12th in the nation in preparing students to pass the bar exam, according to a study by The National Jurist magazine.

Willamette ranked higher than any other law school in Oregon. The University of Washington was the only other law school in the Pacific Northwest included in the top 25.  The top 25 also included top national schools, such as Stanford, Berkeley and the University of Virginia. The magazine ranked 191 U.S. law schools.

“It shows the truth of what we’ve long been saying – we’re one of the best schools for bar preparation not only in the region, but also in the nation,” said Dean Peter Letsou. “It’s the quality of our academic programs, the quality of our teaching and the high standards we set for our students.”

The magazine created a formula that predicted how a school would perform on the bar examination based on the profile of its class.    The magazine then ranked schools by comparing the school’s actual bar passage rate with the predicted rate; those schools that most outperformed the predication received the highest rankings.  Editors used bar exam passage rates from 2008 and 2009, the most recent years available, mistakenly identified in the magazine as rates from 2009 and 2010.

Willamette places special emphasis on ensuring that all students receive rigorous training, particularly in the foundational courses that must be mastered by all lawyers, Letsou said.

“We take teaching very seriously at Willamette and we have high expectations for our students,” Letsou said. “We’re committed to preparing our students for successful and rewarding careers -- and those careers begin with success on the bar examination.”

For the complete list, click here.


Alum who directed congressional panel charged with cutting the federal deficit speaks at College of Law

Mark Prater JD ’84, the staff director of the congressional “super committee” that tried to cut the federal budget last year, visited the law school recently to lecture in classes and participate in a panel discussion called “Balancing the Federal Budget in Tough Times.”

Also on the panel was Prof. Jim Hansen from the College of Liberal Arts economics faculty and Oregon House Rep. Vicki Berger, R-Salem.

Prater is the top Republican tax staffer in the U.S. Senate. He practiced law in Portland before taking a job with the Senate Finance Committee in 1990 and has worked for Republican leaders on the panel ever since.

The "super committee" was charged with cutting $1.2 trillion from the federal budget deficit but gave up when members couldn’t come to an agreement by last year’s mid-November deadline.

To read a profile of Mark Prater in Willamette Lawyer, click here.