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Bar Exam Pass Rate Declining For Maine


Maine’s bar passage rate is the second lowest bar pass rate among states that have released their most recent scores - but the worse state, Pennsylvania, has a higher score needed to pass.


In February 2022, just 40% passed the exam in Maine - including those who who had taken it both for the first time and multiple times.


Maine is among 33 states to adopt the two-day Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). Every UBE state test taker takes the same exam. The only difference is what score is accepted for bar admission. it used to be 276 but was changed in 2020. Alaska has the highest passing score at 280.


Maine’s passing score is now 270 for a test taker to be eligible for bar admission. States with the same 270 passing score are Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming.


For comparison, Nebraska’s pass rate for the same February 2022 exam was 61%, Utah’s was 72%, North Carolina was 50%, Vermont was 47%, Tennessee was 41%, and Washington was 51%. These are figures from the National Council of Bar Examiners which administers the test. other states have yet to release their scores.

The problem does little to alleviate the problem of Maine’s aging bar and shortage of attorneys willing to work in rural parts of the state. This blog has highlighted the ongoing shortage of attorneys willing to take court appointed indigent criminal defense cases.


In February 2020, the pass rate for that exam was 50% in Maine - indicating the pass rate is getting lower.


Pennsylvania had a worse rate of 37% of test takers passing, but it’s passing score is 272, higher than in Maine.



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