The Impact of a Personal Bar Coach on Pass Rate for First Time Bar Exam Takers

Grant Winners

  • Linda F. Harrison, B.A., J.D.
  • Colleen M. Grady, M.S., J.D.
  • Patricia Propheter, M.S. Ed., J.D.

Dean

  • Athornia Steele, J.D.

Abstract

Award Winners

The Florida Bar Auxiliary Program ("FBAP") is part of the Critical Skills Program at Shepard Broad Law Center and is specifically tied to bar passage. FBAP provides recent graduates who are preparing to take the Florida bar exam with detailed study schedules, assigns them specific practice questions, and pairs each student with a personal ìbar coachîwho meets with the student individually two to three times a week, is available for unlimited phone consultations, and provides emotional support during the studentís study period. Some students have opted to complete the FBAP program online, without the benefit of a personal bar coach. These students have access to the detailed study plans but either do not want to make the commitment required to have a personal coach or will not be in the local geographic area.

Because of the high costs associated with providing personal coaches, it is essential to determine their effectiveness. Little research has been found regarding the use of coaches for bar preparation. The purpose of this grant would be to determine whether having a personal bar coach in conjunction with a detailed study schedule for the bar exam preparation period has an impact on a first time taker's exam pass rate on the Florida bar exam. If the personal bar coach improves a studentís chance of passing the bar exam, this option will continue to be made available to most if not all students. If no difference is seen, then further research could be conducted to determine if only a specific group of graduates requires a coach for bar exam success.

A control group experimental design will be used in this study. Six students will be selected at random from the self-selected online FBAP group (which provides no coach) for the control group. The students for the study group will be selected by using the matched-pair technique. The control group and study group students will be paired based on the cumulative grade point average (GPA) of each student at the end of the fall 2008 semester. The independent variable will be whether the participating students have a personal bar coach.