The results of the July administration of bar exams around the country still haven’t been released — but there is very good reason to think we’ll be seeing an increase in passage rates. That’s great news for all those who’ve finished law school — likely taking out massive student loans to do so — and are waiting to become real-life esquires.
According to Judith Gundersen, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the average national score on the July 2019 administration of Multistate Bar Exam is up 1.6 points, to 141.1 — the largest increase in scores since 2008. The MBE counts for 50 percent of the overall score in 44 of the 54 jurisdictions that use the 200 question multiple choice exam; in the remaining jurisdictions, it counts for between 33 and 45 percent of an applicant’s bar exam grade. Regardless of the specific breakdown, an increase in the average MBE score is likely to mean an increase in passage rate. And as Gundersen notes , it is good news: “The increase in the July MBE mean is certainly good news,” she said Monday. “While pass rates depend on a lot of different factors, we do expect we’ll see more people passing the bar exam this July as a result.” But it is probably too early to start the celebrations. Though the bump in MBE scores is nice, it comes off of a 34-year low in 2018 . Even with the sizable increase, the average score is below the mark — 141.7 — set in 2017 .
However, for those that are waiting to find out if they’ve passed what is probably the biggest exam of their life, they can see this as a good sign they’ll soon be members of the bar.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter ( @Kathryn1 ).