Two years ago, the bar pass rate for first-time test takers at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law sank to 38 percent. Although the school has never had a particularly high first-time pass rate, the plunge to less than 40 percent was a red flag for administrators.

“We have taken this as seriously as a heart attack, because it’s that important,” said Katherine “Shelley” Broderick, who was dean at the time.

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