11 October 2010

Professor Sam Astorino's Bar Prep: Promising Passage Rates for Nearly Twenty Years

By Lexington Wolff, Chief Staff Writer

          For most law students, choosing a commercial bar prep course is usually a toss-up between Bar Bri and Kaplan. For nearly three thousand dollars, these courses guarantee excellent results or your money back. However, one bar prep course that flies under the radar while enjoying an even higher success rate can be found right here at Duquesne; and the best thing about it is that it is offered at a very competitive price—free.

          Dr. Astorino’s bar prep course has been helping students successfully take the step from pupil to practitioner for nearly twenty years. “I started this course because the school didn’t have one, and we ended up being one of the first law schools in the country to have our own in-house bar prep,” Astorino said.

          With a 97% bar passage rate, students who regularly attend the sessions enter the exam feeling very confident in their abilities. “You are going to be in the heat of battle,” Astorino tells his students. “You need to know what to look for so you don’t get tricked.”

          To prepare for the exam, Astorino provides students with a packet of questions that are lifted from past Pennsylvania bar exams. Then, for one hour and forty-five minutes every week, he delineates the black letter law while using the packets to highlight common tricks that a student is likely to encounter on the bar exam.

          One of the best aspects of the course, however, is its flexibility. The course is taught on both Tuesday nights and Sunday afternoons so that as many students as possible are accomodated. Tuesdays get a better turnout, with approximately 40-50 attendees. “On Sundays we fight with the Steelers,” Astorino said, “so we only get about 20 students.”

          There is no doubt that Dr. Astorino’s bar prep course has become legendary at Duquesne. Every year students continue to praise Astorino’s course not only for its excellent results, but also because it is taught by an incredibly witty professor. Astorino claims that the time and energy that he invests into the course is all worth it when he sees the success of his students. “When I see a former student who tells me he has passed the bar and gets excited to tell me where he works now, it absolutely tickles me,” Astorino said.

Lexington Wolff is the Chief Staff Writer of Juris.  She is also a member of the Federalist Society and the Women's Law Association.  Lexington is a 2008 graduate of Duquesne University with a B.A. in Journalism and a Minor in Political Science.  She will graduate from Duquesne Law School in June of 2011.  Lexington can be reached at Wolffl@duq.edu.