The purpose of this column is to discuss problems common to Chattanooga attorneys. To the extent a personal opinion occasionally slips out, such opinions do not reflect the opinions of the Board of Governors of the Chattanooga Bar Association or of the Hamilton County Herald.
Friday, Oct. 9 was a big day for us. My daughter Bonnie passed the Tennessee bar exam, and so did her husband, Andrew Wood. Bonnie had a job offer contingent upon her passing the bar, so it was all good news. They will be practicing law in Nashville.
Our first reaction was relief. Celebration came later. For those taking the bar exam, the overall pass rate for the July 2015 test was 64.48 percent. A total of 701 persons sat for the exam. Of that total, 452 passed and 249 did not.
After all the time and effort that the candidates went through to be qualified to sit at the exam table – obtaining their undergraduate degree, taking the Law School Admissions Test, multiple law school applications, acceptances and rejections, three years of law school and law school exams, earning a Juris Doctor degree, completing the bar exam application, submitting to a background investigation and an ethics interview, and taking the bar review course – they still had only a two in three chance of passing the test.
Of the 587 candidates taking the exam for the first time, 434 passed (73.94 percent).
Belmont University Law School had the highest overall pass rate, at 87.36 percent. Vanderbilt University had the second highest, at 83.72 percent. The University of Tennessee had a pass rate of 81.44 percent. The University of Memphis’s pass rate was 69.07 percent.
Duncan School of Law had a 52.38 percent pass rate, and the Nashville School of Law had a pass rate of 28.33 percent.
Congratulations to all of these new lawyers. You have cause to celebrate.
Best wishes and support also to those who are faced with re-taking the exam. Good luck, and don’t give up.
Source for the above bar exam statistics: Tennessee Board of Law Examiners. The final numbers may change because certain results are under review.