Passing the Bar Exam– a Rite of Passage

I read a recent article talking about the pass rate for the Pennsylvania Bar Exam.

The gist of the article was that the pass rate in Pennsylvania was down from what it normally is.

Any lawyer who has taken and passed the bar exam can relate to this.

When my son Kevin was waiting for his results that day my stomach was churning.

Yes Kevin passed on his 1st try.

I was also fortunate to pass the bar exam on my 1st try. But I can still remember looking at that envelope with the results inside all these years ago.

If the letter begins with the word “Congratulations”, then you passed.

If the letter starts with the words “We regret to…” then you failed.

I actually remember taking the letter out and putting my hands over all the other paragraphs of the letter and just peeking ever slow slightly at those first words…

Congratulations. Whew!

To become a lawyer you have to 1st graduate from an accredited law school.

That means 3 years of law school.

Some of the people reading this blog are going through that process right now.

Michael, Jessica, Alex, Kevin, Sam and Christina my heart goes out to each of you because Law School seems endless.

Most people would rather have  a root canal without anesthesia than go through 3 years of law school.

However even after you graduate from law school, there is one final road block to you becoming a lawyer.

That roadblock is the bar exam.

That leads to the Legal Intelligencer article about the lower Pennsylvania Bar exam pass rate as follows:

“While first-time passage rates for the Pennsylvania bar exam were lower this year than they have been in more than a decade, the failures are unlikely to impact most law firms.

Members of the legal community had a variety of theories as to why only about 78.3 percent of the first-time applicants to the bar passed their exam in July. That is the lowest percentage since 2003, when it was 77.8 percent, and the first time since then it has dipped below 80 percent.

Kevin Harden Jr., an associate at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott and president-elect of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, said all the hires at his firm passed, but he has heard rumblings about the low passage rate.

“With the number of people failing, there are employers who are scrambling for graduates,” Harden said, particularly in the public sector.

“Midlevel associates are leaving the public sector to join law firms and there’s a drain on young lawyers because of decreased class sizes and an improved economy,” Harden said. “There’s a drought of young lawyers right now.”

Cameron Kline, a spokesman for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, said some candidates for positions in the office did not pass the bar exam, and their offers were contingent on passing.

“We feel bad for them. It’s unfortunate that it does happen from time to time,” Kline said. He added the passage rate was not severe enough to impact the office’s staffing plans.

A spokesman for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office did not return a call for comment.

Pittsburgh wrongful death, Medical malpractice, slip and fall, car accident attorney Bernie Tully has one suggestion for anyone going through this: just take preparation for the test seriously and review for it every day and you will be just fine.

Thanks for reading.

Bernie the attorney.