The Mississippi bar exam results for the month of July 2017 showed that roughly 53 percent of people who took the exam passed. In February, this number was even lower, at 27 percent. With the two months combined, Mississippi has a passage rate of 45 percent. Just a few years ago, the passage rate was at 80 percent.
Why Passage Rates are Dropping is Unclear
It’s not clear as to why the passage rate is declining, but some are suggesting that schools are more lenient on who they accept into their programs. However, law schools confidently say this is not the case. In fact, this article published in the Clarion Ledger points out that the University of Mississippi School of Law has not lowered its standards for incoming students. LSAT and GPA scores remain the same.
It’s also been noted that passage rates should focus on the number of first-timers that pass the bar exam rather than those who have taken the test multiple times. Looking at these numbers, the pass rate is around 60 percent, which is lower than it has been in past years, but not as terrible as some might think.
Bar Exam Still One of the Most Stressful Tests
The Mississippi bar exam is given two times each year – February and July – and is broken down into two days. The subjects covered on the exam include constitutional law, criminal law, real property, evidence, torts, and contracts/sales. The essay subjects include bankruptcy, domestic relations, partnerships, estates, workers compensation and more.
The bar exam is a difficult test that determines a person’s future, and is stressful for new graduates. If they pass the test, they can begin practicing law. If they don’t, they have to wait to retake the exam. Fortunately, the state of Mississippi provides students with resources to help them study and prepare for the bar exam.
At this time, it’s unclear why passage rates are dropping, and theories are surfacing because of it. However, Mississippi’s goal is the same as it has always been: to help graduates become productive lawyers and serve the men and women of our communities.