UM Law School Bar Exam Pass Rate Drops 22%

The University of Miami Law School bar exam pass rate dropped 22% in February 2022. Photo credit: Alexandra Elaine

The University of Miami Law School, currently listed third-best law school in the state by US News and World Report, recently saw a sharp drop in its students’ bar exam scores.

According to Florida Bar Board of Examiners, UM’s bar exam pass rate was 60.5% as of February 2022, with 38 students taking the exam and 23 passing. This is a decrease of almost 2% compared to the February 2021 Pass Rate among UM law students, with 29 students taking the 2021 exam and 18 passing.

“It’s kind of scary that in one year the bar exam rate has dropped drastically,” said sophomore pre-law student Abigail Maines.

“Since my future is about passing the bar, it’s scary to know that it could be me not passing,” Maines said.

The downward trend is not new. In July 2021, 246 students took the bar exam, of which 203 passed. This success rate of 82.5% saw a strong 22% drop in February 2022. Many more students took the bar exam in July than in February, which made the decline in the number of students passing more significant.

According to an official statement from Jacqueline Menendez, Vice President of University Communications, July is when most students take the bar exam for the first time. Last year’s result was “the highest rate in years” the university had seen.

“I think there’s an oversaturation in the market when it comes to new lawyers,” said Tara McDonald, a second-year political science major interested in attending Miami Law.

“A big fear for me and other pre-law students is that it will become as cutthroat as the academic way of entering the medical field. It’s getting more and more competitive, which is definitely one of my main concerns,” McDonald said.

Despite the declining passing percentage, UM had the most students of any law school in Florida pass the bar exam in February of this year. The number of students taking the February bar also increased slightly from last February, with nine more students choosing to take the test.

“The University of Miami Law School continues to attract some of the strongest and most talented students in the country,” Menendez said. “Applications for the 2021 academic year were up 42.5% over the previous year, and incoming law students were the highest-graduating class ever with median LSAT scores of 160 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.63.”

The university says it will look to provide more resources to law students in future years to improve the results of the most recent bar exams.

“We believe further improvements will occur as we continue to strengthen our offerings of panels, workshops and an additional bar prep program and reflect the overall strength of faculty and education that our students receive,” Menendez said. “Especially as we provide more students with additional opportunities to improve their learning skills and improve their bar exam success.”

Jon J. Epps