Editorial: ONU law school one of the best

May 8, 2013

Bigger isn’t always better, as the Ohio Northern University College of Law will attest.

It is one of the smallest law schools in the Midwest, but consistently sees a high rate of graduates passing the bar exam on the first try.

Congratulations are in order to the most recent graduating class which saw 100 percent of December law graduates pass Ohio’s February 2013 bar examination on their first attempt. That follows an excellent showing by the July 2012 class, which had a 91 percent passage rate for those who took the test for the first time.

The impressive statistics don’t end there:

• ONU’s Pettit College of Law ranks second among Ohio law schools in overall passage rate and first in the passage rate of first-time takers.

• ONU’s perfect passage rate by first-time bar exam participants ranks 20 percent higher than the state average of 80 percent for first-time takers.

• The 100 percent passage rate by ONU law students ranked first, along with the University of Cincinnati, among Ohio schools for the first-time test takers for the month of February.

• Overall, 82 percent of ONU graduates passed the bar in February. This includes repeat takers for the year. Statewide, out of 426 applicants who sat for the exam, 286 (67 percent) received passing scores; out of 254 first-time applicants, 80 percent received passing scores.

Of course, after one passes the next step is finding a job.

Admittedly, it is tough to compare the law-school situation to the job market for other advanced degrees. For one thing, it is common for people to attend law school to advance their career without practicing law. Still, no one will argue the job market is brutal right now for lawyers. A Wall Street Journal report a year ago said the law-school class of 2011 had little better than a 50-50 shot of landing a job as a lawyer within nine months of receiving a degree.

The job-placement rate of ONU graduates remained high with 81.4 percent of its graduates in 2012 employed or seeking an advanced LL.M. degree nine months after graduation.

What’s significant about the nine-month time frame is that it tends to favor top schools whose students often—in good times and bad—land jobs before graduation.

Ohio Northern University is among those top schools. Its College of Law opened its doors in 1885 and is the second oldest of Ohio’s nine law schools. It enrolls more than 285 students annually and has an enviable 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Most of all, it prides itself on not only educating students, but also ensuring the development of practical skills, morals, and leadership needed to be successful in the practice of law.