Law Studies — Courtesy: Image by Iñaki del Olmo from Unsplash
For the second year in a row, less than half of those who dared to take Florida’s online-only bar exam can now move forward on their journey to become attorneys, according to the released results on Monday by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.
Only 1,483 people passed of the 3,343 who sat for the July 27-28 exam — or 44.4%. Last year’s summer exam, which was postponed to October due to the pandemic, had a passing rate of 47.4%.
But counting only first-time test-takers, nearly 72 percent passed the exam. “Passing the bar” means clearing what is called a “character and fitness review,” which is an in-depth background check.
Exams have been held online due to social distancing and other precautions related to COVID-19. The bar has always been a two-day, in-person exam; recent examinations have been limited to online-only.
Florida’s bar exam passing rates have been on a consistent downward trend in recent years, but have specifically taken a nosedive amid the coronavirus pandemic. The exam is usually administered at the Tampa Convention Center but is now taken remotely.
Here’s how the Sunshine State’s 11 law schools fared in terms of first-time test-taker passing rates. The passage rate for the previous year’s summer exam is in parentheses for comparison:
- Florida International University College of Law, Miami: 88.8% (89.3%)
- University of Miami School of Law: 82.5% (72.5%)
- University of Florida College of Law, Gainesville: 81.3% (83.9%)
- Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport: 78.8% (74.4%)
- Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee: 73.9% (84.4%)
- Ave Maria School of Law, Naples: 67.6% (64.4%)
- Nova Southeastern University College of Law, Fort Lauderdale: 66.7% (67.4%)
- Barry University School of Law, Orlando: 59.2% (61.2%)
- Florida A&M University College of Law, Orlando: 56.8% (61.7%)
- Florida Coastal School of Law, Jacksonville: 53.3% (57.6%)
- St. Thomas University College of Law, Miami Gardens: 50.8% (66.9%)
In other results, those who graduated from law schools outside of the state of Florida passed by 62.5%, compared to 63.8% in 2020. Those who were previously admitted to the practice of law in other states logged a 78.5% pass rate, compared to 71.7% the year before.
Just like in many other states, the bar exam is given twice a year in Florida, administered in February and July. The number of law graduates sitting for the winter exam is usually lower than in the summer.
In this February’s exam, the pass rate was 27%, with 502 passing out of 1,854 who took the test. This number includes first-time and repeat takers.
“Formal induction ceremonies, hosted by the Supreme Court and the 2nd through the 5th Florida District Courts of Appeal, will be held to swear in the new attorneys on Oct. 13,” a press release said.
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Born and raised in South Florida, Krystal is a recent graduate from the University of Miami with professional writing experience at the collegiate and national news outlet levels. She’s a foodie who loves all things travel, the beach, & visiting new places throughout Florida.