Iowa State Bar Examination Has Lowest Pass Rate In More Than A Decade

Apr 22, 2016

In February, only 61 percent of those who took the Iowa State Bar Examination passed.  That's the lowest pass rate in more than a decade.

Taking the bar is required of all who wish to practice law in Iowa. February's 69 test takers came from more than two dozen law schools. 

Drake Law School Dean Ben Ullem says to better prepare its students for the bar exam, the school has altered the structure of courses.

"We're using a more deliberate teaching process where instead of having one examination at the end of the semester, we have periodic exams, tests, papers," says Ullem. "Students are able to see how they're progressing periodically through the semester, instead of just one time at the end." 

Ullem says Drake has hired more staff for bar preparation. 

Iowa’s results follow a nationwide trend of a lower bar pass rates. Some speculate because fewer people are applying to law school, more programs are accepting a lower quality of student. 

Ullem says Drake’s class sizes have shrunk, though the profile of the average student has remained the same.