Magnolia State Chalks up Another Milestone

April 24, 2017 § 4 Comments

Mississippi is unfortunately first among last-place finishes in many categories.

But the latest is a low even by our standards. The February bar examination results are in, and the pass rate was an abysmal 36%. You read that right — 36%. You can read Above the Law’s snarky post on this fiasco at the link.

For comparison, last February’s pass rate was 63%.

What exactly is up with this? Are the law schools doing a poor job preparing students? Have the grading criteria changed? Did someone decide we have too many lawyers and tried to turn off the spigot?

My class still had the diploma privilege when we graduated in the early 1970’s. That meant that graduation from the state-supported law school created a presumption that one was qualified to practice law. The privilege was abolished in the 1980’s, and every graduate from every law school afterward was required to pass the bar exam. I’m not sure that there’s been a major upswing in the qualification level of newly-graduated attorneys since that change.

Notwithstanding my presumed qualification, I took the Tennessee bar exam in 1974, even though my employer did not require it. I still remember opening that letter with shaking hands and the satisfaction I felt at passing. I can only imagine how it must crush one’s spirits to be one of the 64% who did not pass the February exam.

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