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Chief Justice Rush Worried About Poor Bar Exam Passage Rate

Brandon Smith
IPB News

The passage rate for the state’s bar exam continues to struggle, with only about 60 percent of prospective attorneys making the grade.

The Indiana Supreme Court’s annual report shows the bar exam passage rate has dropped from more than 70 percent five years ago. Chief Justice Loretta Rush created a study commission to examine the issue and says there are a lot of factors, from the exam itself to the state’s law schools. Rush says she expects recommendations from that commission soon.

“And I think it’ll give us a lens, with the five of us and our constitutional responsibility for the admission of laws, that it’ll give us a nice framework to look through,” Rush says.

Rush says the state needs to act to improve its passage rate.

“But you also want to make sure that there is a bar for the quality, to make sure somebody goes into a lawyer’s office, that they’re getting good, fair, efficient representation,” Rush says.

Rush notes she’s also concerned about those taking the exam – people who she says, on average, accrue about $125,000 in student debt at law school.

Contact Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.