The State Bar of California released the statistical results for the most recent First Year Law Students’ Exam., and St. Francis came out on top for first time takers at all unaccredited law schools in California (online, fixed facility, and correspondence), with 87.5% of St. Francis’ first time takers passing the exam. All St. Francis students taking the exam also lead the distance learning and correspondence law schools, with 66.7% of all takers passing the exam.

First year law student studying in California

October 2015 First Year Law Students’ Exam
Distance Learning Law Schools


Law SchoolFirst TimersAll Takers
St. Francis School of Law87.5%66.7%
California School of Law50%62.5%
Abraham Lincoln University School of Law14.3%22.6%
Concord Law School21.2%18.5%
American Heritage School of Law12.5%16.7%
Overall distance learning Law Schools26.7%24.6%
Overall total taking the examination25.3%20.4%



Dean Carole J. Buckner credits St. Francis’ students, who exhibited a high level of diligence in preparation for the FYLSE. She also referenced the law school’s rigorous admission policies, the high quality of the St. Francis first year curriculum, the dedication of the professors in the first year program, and the high quality of the FYLSE Prep class, Law811, that is offered for credit as part of the JD Program. Prof. Buckner singled out Prof. Travis for her personal efforts and dedication to students in the first year of the St. Francis online J.D. program.

St. Francis’ first year program covers contracts, criminal and torts. Students attend live interactive lectures twice a week, where they interact with their professors in small classes limited to 15 students. Students also complete weekly written assignments and quizzes. Professors give students feedback on their work on a weekly basis, so students are able to improve their skills. The St. Francis JD program also proctors all final exams, preparing students for the proctoring experience on the FYLSE and General Bar Exam.

Upon completion of the first year, students take the FYLSE Prep course, a rigorous class designed to review materials and prepare students for the FYLSE test environment. The class not only reviews exam strategy, but also focuses on strategy and timing, both important aspects of the exam. Importantly, the FYLSE Prep class offers three mock exams to prepare students for what to expect on the FYLSE. St. Francis also runs workshops to help students practice their skills and review relevant doctrine.

Last December, Dean Buckner presented information about the program to the California State Bar’s Committee, which regulates legal education in the state. The Committee noted the innovation in the St. Francis program and looked forward to seeing the results.

“These results refute the notion that a fixed facility is required to deliver a successful Juris Doctor program. Program design and faculty make the difference. High quality distance learning can be delivered in a robust online program,” Dean Buckner said. Examination of the most recent statistics shows that the fixed facility schools averaged the lowest pass rates, with 8.3% of first time takers passing, and 12.3% of all takers passing. Distance learning law schools averaged 24.6% overall for all takers, with correspondence schools averaging 22.4%. The average percentage passing rate for the October 2015 First-Year Law Students’ Exam was 25.3%.

In the big picture, St. Francis came out on top, a credit to students, faculty, and administration. For more information, contact