The Legal Beat
Florida Bar Exam Results Are Out
Posted on Friday November 20, 2020
The Florida Bar Exam was a complete and utter disaster. They tried to hold it in person, then moved online, then had a string of failures that kept pushing off the date, eventually they fired the online provider, then they went ahead through a wave of technical problems, and throughout it all kept sending contradictory messages about the content of the exam (MBE? No MBE? Florida stuff? Federal stuff? WHO KNOWS?!?!). Every step of the way, the jurisdiction swiped the football like they were Lucy Van Pelt. And now we have the results from the exam.
On October 13, 2020, 3,137 applicants took the online remote Bar Examination. The Supreme Court posted the pass/fail results for each applicant on its website and score reports were mailed or posted to each applicant’s portal today.
The Court approved 1,487 candidates for admission to The Florida Bar on November 20, 2020, and Chief Justice Charles T. Canady has announced that they may be sworn in as members of The Florida Bar. A formal induction ceremony to swear in the new attorneys will be via Zoom on December 9, 2020.
For those reaching for a calculator, we’ll save you the trouble and inform you that’s a 47.4 percent passage rate. But 47 percent passed the July 2019 administration, so this is pretty much par for the course. The first-time pass rate was 71.7 percent. By comparison, the first-time passage for July 2019 was 73.9 percent
In the immediate aftermath of the online tests — in Florida and elsewhere — marred by technical difficulties, delays, and boasting questions that even those who’d taken prior tests thought were off the rails (Florida didn’t do the MBE stuff at least… but they replaced it with some UCC-3 nonsense), oh, and don’t forget the gratuitous racism! We feared this would take a heavy toll on passage rates. Idaho dipped to 29 percent passage, but we were all told that it would be a small sample size outlier. But now we have a massive state delivering results that seem in line with expectations.
But don’t let this flirtation with normalcy obscure that this was all an unmitigated disaster from start to finish. There’s no reason to treat applicants the way they were treated throughout the process. And given that the state used its own test as opposed to the MBE, we can’t really be sure that these results aren’t the result of some heavy scaling to make everything magically come out at the exact numbers they expected.
Here’s the passage percentage breakdown by school (UPDATE: First-time passage rate):
Ave Maria School of Law 64.4
Barry University School of Law 61.2
Florida A&M University College of Law 61.7
Florida Coastal School of Law 57.6
Florida International University College of Law 89.3
Florida State University College of Law 84.4
Nova Southeastern University College of Law 67.4
St. Thomas University College of Law 66.9
Stetson University College of Law 74.4
University of Florida College of Law 83.9
University of Miami School of Law 72.5
non-Florida law schools 63.8
Admitted to the Practice of Law 72.6
Congrats to Florida International for continuing to kill it on this test, no matter the circumstances.
But still… we can do better than this as a profession.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.