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63 Res Gestae 10 (April 2020)


For most of us, the Bar Exam conjures up memories of grueling prep courses, intensive studying, and a couple of long days of exhaustive tests. In a way, the exam is the final rite of passage from law student to law practitioner. The exam is intended to test minimal professional competency, evaluating an applicant's legal reasoning and ability to apply general legal principles to various fact patterns.

Recently, bar exams throughout the United States have come under scrutiny. Nationwide pass rates have declined significantly. The same has been true for Indiana. Even though pass rates for first-time takers at the Maurer School of Law have continued to hover between 85-95%, the average Indiana pass rate has declined from 82% in 1979-2000 to 72.8% in 2001-2016. In July 2019, the first time pass rate for the Indiana bar exam was 76%, and the overall pass rate was 65%. These declines have spurred states to scrutinize their bar exams, driven by concerns over whether would-be good lawyers were being kept from the practice...