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Which State Has the Worst Bar Pass Rate?

Is it harder to pass the Mississippi bar exam or to spell the state's name -- without looking or repeating that memory jingle?

If that mnemonic jumped into your head or you looked, no worries -- let's just say 50 percent of the people can't spell "Mississippi" without cheating a little. But did you know that barely 36 percent of the people who took the Mississippi bar exam in February passed?

That is just wrong. Or at least, that is the worst bar pass rate in like forever.

For how difficult they are to obtain, law licenses have a ridiculously short reach. Go to law school, cram for a bar exam, jump over dozens of state bar admissions hurdles and voila, you're ready to begin your legal career -- in a single state or just a handful, depending on your original state bar's reciprocity agreements.

That means that if you want to switch from, say, lawyering in L.A. to a career in Chicago, you may need to retake the bar exam. So, just how terrible, horrible, gruesome, and horrific is taking a second state bar exam?

MBE Scores Fall to Their Lowest Ever

A picture could tell this story much better, but imagine this: a cliff with a drop-off so steep you cannot see the bottom.

That's what the latest Multi-state Bar Exam results look like. It's not just bad; it's scary bad. The drop-off is so steep, it makes President Trump's approval ratings look good.

According to reports, these are the worst test results since bar examiners started keeping track. It is the third year in a row that test scores have fallen a full point, showing a trend that suggests even more students will fail the bar exam this year.

Court Says Applicant, Who Didn't Go to College, May Take the Bar Exam

It takes a lot to change bar exam requirements, which figures in a profession built on a pedagogical approach that dates back to Socrates.

Times are changing, however, with things like the Uniform Bar Exam gaining traction in many states. Even California, with its feared three-day exam, is going to a two-day format this year.

But rarely in the annals of bar exam history have examiners been schooled like the Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners. The Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected the board's reading of an admission requirement like a disgusted law professor throwing a test back at a surly student.

"What kind of fried okra is this anyway?!" the court could have thundered.

California's bar exam is known as one of the hardest, if not the hardest, exams in the country. But that reputation could be fading. In 2015, the state decided to drop the exam's infamous third day, starting this summer. Now, state legislators want to make the bar even easier -- maybe even passable.

Last week, lawmakers sent a letter to the chief justice of the California Supreme Court, urging her to address the state's declining bar passage rates by temporarily lowering the score needed to practice in the Golden State.

You graduated law school, passed the bar, and now you're ready to go. In one state, at least. But if you want to handle a case or advise a client across state lines, you'll soon hit a wall. Lawyers can't work where they're not admitted. For an out-of-state attorney to be allowed to practice across borders, they have to jump through significant hoops, sometimes even retaking the bar exam.

Is it time for a borderless legal market?

Scores of bar exam takers in Georgia were told that they had failed when they actually passed. According to the Georgia Supreme Court, 90 bar exam takers were told that they had failed the July 2015 or February 2016 tests when they had in fact passed. That means that some of the test takers had to wait more than a year to find out that, whoopsie, they hadn't failed the bar after all.

Now those once-future lawyers are doing what lawyers do: suing the company that scored the exams.

The bar exam is over -- done, finished, completed, closed, past. If you're lucky, this will be the last time you have to worry about (or even think about) that test ever again.

So, what comes next? Here are five things to do now that you've survived one of the law's greatest crucibles.

California Messed Up Its 'Baby Bar' and Traumatized Test Takers

News has gotten out that California's State Bar bungled the administration of its "baby bar" exam, adding to growing list of horror stories and scandals that hound the bar exam experience. This makes you wonder just how bad things can get before a reputation team is hired to burnish the bar exam's image.

In the meantime, those who've taken Cal's baby bar are enjoying a special kind of personal torment as they await the results of the test.

Future lawyers, are you jealous of all your non-law friends running around catching Pokemon while you cram for the bar? Don't be. Join them.

The summer's biggest light-hearted cultural phenomenon is the perfect thing for J.D.'s studying for the bar. And no, we're not kidding. Here's why.