FIU First, Ave Maria Law School Dead Last in Florida Bar Exam Passage Rate; University of Miami Stinks
|Ave Maria, Florida. Ave Maria's law school is now located in nearby Naples.|
Here are the results, released by the Florida Supreme Court on Monday:
GENERAL FLORIDA BAR EXAMINATION
Florida International, 89.6% (120 of 134)
Florida, 89.1% (285 of 320)
Florida State, 88.3% (183 of 206)
Stetson, 87.7% (185 of 211
Nova Southeastern, 87.4% (201 of 230)
Miami, 82.6% (237 of 287)
St. Thomas, 77.9% (113 of 145)
Florida Coastal, 74.6% (179 of 240)
Barry, 70.3% (104 of 148)
FAMU, 65.3% (77 of 118)
Ave Maria, 47.8% (11 of 23)
Six years later, the law school is in shambles. According to Florida Board of Bar Examiners statistics released earlier this week, Ave Maria currently ranks dead last with an abysmal 47.8 percent passing the test.
"Tom thought the law school was so successful in Michigan, he could just pick it up and move it to Florida," says former Ave Maria law professor Charles Rice. "It was crazy. Absolutely crazy."
Rice blames the law school's demise on Monaghan's decision to abruptly move Ave Maria to Florida.
"The problem is the way that it was done," he says. "You had this law school up in Ann Arbor that way dynamite. It was a terrific place. The first three or four years of that place were just exceptional. But as soon as they dropped the bombshell that they were going to move to Florida lock, stock, and barrel, it destabilized things."
Rice says that he and other faculty tried to convince Monaghan to gradually shift students to the Florida campus, but that the businessman wouldn't listen.
"Instead he had this maniacal idea: 'We're going to uproot this place and put it down there,'" Rice says. "But there was no Ave Maria University yet in Florida. There was nothing."
Rice, who was teaching at both the Ave Maria and Notre Dame law schools, quit shortly before the move. He continues to teach constitutional law at Notre Dame.
"If Monaghan had kept that school where it was, within 10 years of cranking out those graduates it would have been one of the most prominent law schools in the country," he says. "He had a great thing going and he blew it."
Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.