Patent bar exam results have been declining alongside state bar exam pass rates

Bar exam pass rates have fallen and remained relatively low for several years. The National Conference of Bar Examiners noted long ago that Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam scores had been declining, which hinted at a future slide in state bar exam pass rates in the future—even though the MPRE is independent of the state bar exam.

I recently discovered that the United States Patent and Trademark Office publishes patent bar pass rates. From my understanding, this bar is most commonly taken by law students or recent graduates. Test-takers are those who intend to do certain patent legal practice before the USPTO. Test-takers have declined in recent years, consistent with the decline in overall law school enrollment.

I noted that patent bar pass rates have declined in recent years alongside state bar pass rates. I took the first-time overall state bar pass rates against the patent bar pass rates.

It’s another indication of an overall concern about the ability of law school graduates, regardless of the form of the test or the area of examination, to pass—and an indication that law schools need to consider solutions apart from content-specific or state bar exam-specific concerns.