How do we know that ten people passed on appeal? Because the pre-appeals pass number released by the Michigan Board of Law Examiners was 493. The post-appeals pass statistics released by the Michigan Board of Law Examiners say that 503 applicants passed on appeals.*
We are thrilled to have written 50% of the passing appeals in the state! We are also thrilled to have received an average of over 2 points per appeal. The highest amount of points we received back on a single appeal was 7 points. We also had a five point appeal pass which we couldn’t be happier about.
Not everyone passed on appeal. The BLE was very strict and denied high-quality, well-written appeals for clients that had well-written answers that we truly believe deserved more points. This, unfortunately, is the nature of appeals (and even though we know that, and our clients know that, it is still very disappointing when an appeal does not pass!) As such, we always do our best to help our clients who did pass to plan their swearing-in ceremonies, and to help our clients who do not pass on appeal to come up with a bar study plan for the next round.
The fact that only an average of 10 people pass on appeal in Michigan each administration is eye-opening. It means a few things:
- First of all, winning on appeal (no matter how many points you need) is not a guarantee. Even if you do not need that many points on appeal and even if you have a high-quality appeal written, there is still a good chance you will not pass. We all know this, in theory, but given that there were probably at least 50 appeals written in the state (based on the numbers we know, we can speculate that there were probably about 50 appeals written by lawyers in the state…and several more written by individuals themselves), that means that less than 20% of appeals pass overall. 20% may even be a generous percentage.
- Secondly, the administration is keeping the appeals passage rate consistently low. Based on the initial grading of bar exams, the BLE seems to want the passage rate to remain around 60%. Then it does not let the number go much higher than that on appeal. If the BLE let 30 appeals pass each administration, that would change the overall percentage and overall passage rate. Allowing only ten or eleven appeals to pass keeps the passage rate low. This means that quality, well-written appeals will continue to fail.
- Lastly, law firms who advertised a very high appeals passage rate in the past either: (1) Do not have such a high passage rate now; or (2) Only take on a very small amount of appeals. If an attorney or law firm is taking on 20 appeals per administration, then the highest number of passing appeals they could have written this July 2015 round is five (considering we wrote the other five!). The highest number of passing appeals they could have written the last February 2015 round is seven (considering we wrote the other three that passed in the state). This puts them well below a 50% passage rate. Which is fine — because that is the nature of appeals! But it is more reason to ask good questions when you are considering appealing so you can make the most informed decision possible.
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.