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What is the percentage of Michigan bar exam appeals that pass on appeal?

Note: This post was updated in February, 2016. We get asked this frequently – and the answer is: We don’t know! We have heard a lot of statistics – “20 percent of Michigan bar exam appeals pass.” We have also heard this statistic: “1/3 of those who write their own appeals are successful” The problem is, we have no idea where these statistics come from (besides a lot of people repeating them!). . . 

Although we can generally figure out the percentage of applicants that pass on appeal (for the July 2015 Michigan bar exam and February 2016 Michigan bar exam, only ten people passed each administration), we still do not know: (A) how many total applicants actually appealed their bar exam score, or (B) how many of them used attorneys to appeal their score versus writing their appeal themselves.

Note that even if you hear Michigan bar exam appeal statistics that you believe are credible, besides asking where they come from, it is also important to ask what time period they span. In the past (early 2000’s), it was much easier to pass on appeal. Attorneys in the past would succeed in getting 5-10 points on appeal(!) and would frequently write successful appeals. Right now − (and any good Michigan bar exam appeals attorney that you talk to should readily tell you this) − it is much harder to pass on appeal than it was. Anything bar exam that needs five points or more should be met with a lot of consideration.  (If any Michigan bar exam appeals attorney eagerly takes on a five-point appeal without very carefully going over it, you should be wary of them!)

With that said, all we have available are our own statistics. Here is a very basic breakdown of our Michigan bar exam appeal statistics.

Our Michigan Bar Exam Appeal Statistics:   

For the July 2015 Michigan bar exam, our firm wrote half of the passing appeals in the state! Ten appeals passed and we wrote five of them.  We received a total of 29 points back on the appeals we wrote.

For the July 2016 bar exam, only six appeals passed in the state. We wrote five of those appeals.

For our most recent statistics check out our Michigan Bar Exam Appeals page!

One important takeaway is: the less points you need to pass, the more likely you are to pass on appeal.

  • If you only need one point to pass the bar exam and hire us to write your appeal, you are very likely to succeed. We have a 90% passage rate for students that only need one point. For the February 2015 appeals administration, we had a 100% passage rate of clients that only needed one point pass on appeal – and we had three of these appeals. (So, in other words, we had three one-point appeals and all succeeded). In the past, we have generally taken on appeals of clients that need more than one point but we almost always receive at least one point on appeal.
  • If you need two or three points, you are still pretty likely to succeed. A very high percentage of our clients in this category have succeeded, however it is much closer to a 40-50% likelihood of succeeding and depends a lot upon what we have to work with!
  • Four points plus is dicey. We have received four points on appeal but you truly need meritorious arguments to succeed if you need four points to pass an appeal.  We have asked for several points in the past, and succeeded, but we have also had appeals in this category fail.  You have about a 25% chance of passing if you need four points and you have meritorious arguments.
  • We had a five-point appeal pass in the July 2015 administration. The most points we received on one appeal last administration was seven points (although there was a clear grading error that justified the award of so many points.)

Whether we recommend an appeal will depend not only on the amount of points that you need but also the content of your essays. Thus, you should not judge whether your appeal would pass on those statistics alone.

We recommend you read the following Michigan bar exam appeal articles if you are considering appealing your Michigan bar exam score: (If you want to read all of our posts, click here: Michigan Bar Exam Appeals – or click on specific posts below):

  • Looking to Pass the Bar Exam on Appeal?

    Check out our information on Michigan bar exam appeals here. JD Advising founder and her partner founded the Heidemann Jabbori law firm, which wrote all of the passing appeals in Michigan for the July 2018 Michigan bar administration.


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