TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bar Pass Rates Rise in Several States

The National Law Journal reports that the bar passage rate on the July 2008 exam rose in several large states, including California (5.6% -- 61.7% in 2008 v. 56.1% in 2007), Massachusetts (3.4% -- 86.4% v. 83.0%), and New York (4.1% -- 74.7% v. 70.6%):

The upward trend reflects national scores on the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) portion of the test. The multiple choice section can count for up to half of an applicant's score depending on the state, said Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference, which designs the MBE. The national mean on the MBE portion of the test hit a record 145.60 out of a 200-point scale, up from 143.73 in July 2007, Moeser said. ...

One possible explanation is the new attention law schools are giving to preparing students to take the bar examination, Moeser said. "A number are taking [such courses] seriously," she said. A growing number of law schools have offered bar prep courses for credit since the American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar began allowing such programs in 2005. A resolution passed by the ABA's House of Delegates at this summer's ABA annual meeting allows law schools to make such programs mandatory.

High average LSAT scores for July 2008 bar exam takers who graduated from law school in the spring of 2008, also accounts for some of the strong performance on this summer's bar examination scores, Moeser said.

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