Paul L. Caron

Monday, February 27, 2023

2022 Bar Pass Rate Fell 2 Percentage Points Due To Fewer 1L Academic Dismissals After Spring 2020 Covid Semester

Press Release, ABA Section of Legal Education Releases Comprehensive Report on Bar Passage Data:

ABA Legal Ed (2022)The managing director’s office of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar released today a comprehensive set of data on bar passage outcomes for American Bar Association-approved law schools. Spreadsheets are available on the section’s webpage under Legal Education Statistics, which report these outcomes under ABA Required Disclosures on a school-by-school basis and in more detail.

The new data shows that in the aggregate, 91.44% of 2020 law graduates who sat for a bar exam passed it within two years of graduation (91.87% with Diploma Privilege). The two-year “ultimate” aggregate success rate is slightly better than the 91.27% comparable figure for 2019 graduates. The 2020 ultimate bar pass data also reveals that 92.58% of all graduates sat for a bar exam within two years of graduation, and that schools were able to obtain bar passage information from 98.56% of 2020 graduates.

First-time takers in 2022 achieved an aggregate 73.87% pass rate (78.33% with diploma privilege), which is approximately a 2-percentage point decrease over the comparable 80.28% pass rate (with diploma privilege) for 2021. Consistent with last year, those admitted to the practice of law solely based on their graduation status are considered bar passers. ...

Additional bar passage information that will include gender and race statistics on a national basis is expected to be released in the first half of March.

Derek Muller (Iowa) notes that the 2-percentage point drop in the 2022 pass rate mirrors the reduction in 1L academic dismissals following the spring 2020 Covid semester with pass-fail grading and liberalized academic dismissal rules.

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