Update (November 24, 2015): Contrary to my point of view, below, a 11/23/15 National Law Journal Article by Sheri Qualters, “Bar Exam Pass Rates Drop Across the Country,” (paywall but initial peaks for free) suggests that the drop in law school applications has resulted in lowering standards at law schools and this is said to be reason for nationwide drops in bar exam pass rates.
Original post (November 16, 2015): As shown in the attached chart, there is a steady decline in the pass-rate of the Minnesota bar exam in recent years. Fewer are taking the exam and fewer of these fewer are passing the exam. Why?
I would suggest that it is not that applicants to join the Minnesota bar have grown less able in recent years nor that the substance of the Minnesota bar exam is getting more difficult.
Rather, I think that the Minnesota judicial system, including the board of law examiners appreciates that we have an over-supply of lawyers in Minnesota versus Minnesotans’ demand for lawyers. That is, there appears to be a sense that we have enough if not too many lawyers already.
Law school applications are down. Law schools are closing or merging. Law school class sizes are shrinking. Lawyers’ incomes are falling. And it appears these days that the Minnesota Supreme Court is somewhat more willing to disbar bad Minnesota lawyers rather than slap them on the wrist as they might have done in years past.
So maybe all of these factors will benefit current hard-working but hungry-for-work Minnesota lawyers?