Research by UW–Madison’s Odle, co-authors examines effects of Uniform Bar Examination

UW–Madison’s Taylor Odle is the lead author on a new paper that is titled, “The effect of the Uniform Bar Examination on admissions, diversity, affordability, and employment prospects across law schools in the United States.”

Odle is an assistant professor with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Policy Studies. His work leverages quantitative methods and data science techniques to study issues concerning the economics of education and education policy with a specific focus on college access and success. 

Taylor Odle

Published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, the paper examines the effects of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) — which law students use to gain admission to the bar in 40 states and territories — across several areas. It states that despite the prevalence of UBE, “no research to date has documented its effects on law schools’ application volumes, admissions decisions, diversity, affordability, bar passage rates, or the employment mobility of graduates.”

Odle and co-authors Ji Yeon Bae and Manuel S. González Canche from the University of Pennsylvania discovered evidence suggesting that “institutions in states with UBE enjoy more applications and higher enrollments, with potentially greater impacts for Asian and Black students.”

The authors note that their findings “show real promise that some relatively simple changes in state and institutional practice — for example, moving to a more universally accepted bar exam — cannot only have important impacts on who applies to and enrolls in law school but may also improve their post-graduation outcomes.”

They add the UBE has the potential to help diversify the law profession, which they say, “remains one of the least racially diverse professional fields.”

Read more about Odle’s research.

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