The job of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives in the United States is to pass and review laws.
Because of its legal nature, many voters tend to elect individuals who have experience in law.
Those Senators and Representatives are often the best choices to go on to become Presidents since they have experience working in Congress and they understand the Law.
Because Joe Biden is a former Senator and is now the 46th President of the United States, many wonder if he passed the bar exam while he was in law school.
To be a lawyer, after all, one has to pass the bar exam.
Here’s what you need to know about the bar exam and whether Joe Biden passed it.
Did Joe Biden Pass The Bar Exam?
Yes, Joe Biden passed the bar exam in 1968.
He attended Syracuse University College of Law where he studied to become a lawyer.
He graduated college in 1968 and then took the bar exam shortly after that.
Syracuse University College of Law is in the state of New York, but Biden, who hails from Delaware, looked to serve as an attorney there.
Besides a few exemptions, attorneys can only practice law in the states in which they have passed the bar exam.
If they wish to practice law in a different state, then they need to pass the bar exam in that state as well.
The only consistent exemption is if you’re practicing federal law like Senators and Representatives.
To practice law in Delaware, Biden had to pass the bar exam in our first state.
The problem is that Delaware has one of the hardest, if not the hardest, bar exams in the country.
It requires its applicants to score 145 or higher.
The exam also takes place over the course of two and a half days.
To make matters worse and even more difficult, the applicant can only take the exam once a year.
Delaware holds its bar exam every July.
As a result, Biden took the exam in Delaware in July 1968.
He passed on the first attempt.
Since he passed the bar exam, he was able to work as an attorney in the state.
What Is The Bar Exam?
The bar exam is the final stage that prospective attorneys must pass before they can legally practice law.
Even if someone graduates from law school, it doesn’t mean that they are a lawyer.
In most cases, these individuals tend to take a major in something else like history.
Once they graduate, they take what they have learned from their various classes in law and apply them to the bar exam.
This exam varies by the state in which it’s taken.
Each state also has its own requirements and qualifications that applicants must satisfy before sitting down for the exam.
It mostly requires that the applicant be a graduate of a university.
The bar exam is structured in a way that tests to see if the individual can think like a lawyer.
It tests for basic competency to determine whether the individual can practice and understand the law.
The bar exam is notoriously difficult.
It tests the subject in a few different areas to determine their competency.
There isn’t one way to prepare for the bar exam.
There aren’t any shortcuts either.
The best way to pass the bar exam is to be able to do well in various areas of the test.
This means that an individual can’t focus on one particular area of the test and ignore the others.
It won’t be enough to garner a high enough score to pass.
What Does The Bar Exam Format Look Like?
There are two different and distinct bar exams.
The standard bar exam is one that’s specific to each state.
It usually includes questions related specifically to that state’s laws and expectations.
Many of the questions tend to favor situations that occur regularly within the state.
This is because the state wants to determine whether or not the lawyer can understand the particular laws of that state.
If they’re unable to do so, then they won’t be able to perform their job well.
Since this impacts the lives of others, the state doesn’t want just anyone representing the rights of others.
The other type of bar exam is the Uniform Bar Exam.
This is a set of different exams put together to satisfy the requirements that many states have.
One of the benefits of taking the Uniform Bar Exam is that it allows those who pass it to become a lawyer in any state that also administers the Uniform Bar Exam.
It’s also worth mentioning that even if a state uses the Uniform Bar Exam, they may still include questions that are specific to that state.
That said, there’s a general format on how the bar exam proceeds.
In the case of Michigan, applicants can expect to take the exam over two days.
Michigan also intends to use the Uniform Bar Exam starting in February 2023.
Currently, however, you can expect the first day of the exam to cover 15 essay questions.
You have nine questions that you need to answer in three hours in the morning.
Then you take a break.
You reconvene in the afternoon and answer the remaining six questions in two hours.
On the second day, is the Multistate Bar Exam.
This exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions that you need to answer.
They split the exam into two sets of 100s.
The first 100 take place in the morning and the second 100 take place in the afternoon with a break between them.
What Subjects Does The Bar Exam Cover?
The bar exam covers several subjects.
To pass the bar exam, you have to have knowledge in all these areas.
Some of the MBE subjects in Michigan include:
- Real property
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law/Procedure
- Federal Civil Procedure
Those concepts take the form of multiple-choice questions that you need to answer.
There are also several subjects that you need to know to pass the essay section of the Michigan bar exam.
These subjects include:
- Conflict of laws
- Constitutional Law
- Workers’ Compensation
- Creditor’s Rights
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Real and Personal Property
- Torts (including No-Fault)
- Domestic Relations
- Uniform Commercial Code
- Practice and Procedure
- MI Rules of Professional Conduct
Both parts of the exam represent 50% of your total exam score.
That means that you need to perform well in both if you want to earn as many points as possible.
It isn’t enough to excel in the essay portion only to fail in the multiple choice section.
While this is the Michigan bar exam, you can find that several other states have similar subjects that they test for.
The answer to those questions, however, may differ slightly from state to state based on their particular laws.
The amount of time that you have to complete the sections, and the number of each, can also differ.
How Is The Bar Exam Scored?
The number of points that you need to pass the bar exam differs based on the state.
Those states that require more points tend to be more difficult than those who ask for lower points.
In the state of Michigan, for example, the number of points required to pass the bar exam is 135.
This is 10 points fewer than Delaware’s requirement at 145 points.
Those who take the Uniform Bar Exam have to score even higher.
Because it has more questions and essay questions, the Uniform Bar Exam requires a higher number of points to pass it.
The highest point requirement comes from Alaska at 280 points.
The average score that applicants need to pass is 260 to 265 points.
As with state-specific bar exams, the Uniform Bar Exam’s score differs based on the state.
That’s because each state usually offers additional questions that other states don’t.
How Is The Uniform Bar Exam Different From Standard Bar Exams?
The Uniform Bar Exam is different from standard bar exams because of its nature.
While it does mimic some of the same things as a state-specific bar exam, it also includes more requirements that further demonstrate whether the applicant has a comprehensive knowledge of the law or not.
It’s similar to a standard bar exam in that it’s tested over two days.
Day 1 Of The Uniform Bar Exam
The first day covers the Multistate Performance Test.
This is an open-book exam that attempts to simulate the real-life working conditions of a lawyer.
It tests to determine whether the applicant has the logical skills and understanding that a standard lawyer needs to do their job.
As such, each applicant receives certain materials that they need to do the test.
The applicant takes those materials and then creates a product like a memo or a brief that they would usually produce in a real-life situation.
It attempts to test the applicant’s skills in a realistic environment.
In the morning, the applicant will receive two tasks that they need to complete based on their own knowledge and the materials they received.
They have three hours in which to complete the tasks with 90 minutes given to each task specifically.
After those three hours, the applicants receive a small break.
They then reconvene during the afternoon for the second portion of the test.
The second portion is the Multistate Essay Exam.
Applicants will need to answer six essay questions.
They need to answer each of those questions in 30 minutes for a total of three hours.
The essay subjects vary.
Once the three hours are over, the first day of the Uniform Bar Exam is complete.
Day 2 Of The Uniform Bar Exam
The second day of the Uniform Bar Exam consists only of the Multistate Bar Exam.
However, they split the 200 questions into sections throughout the day.
The first 100 questions take place in the morning.
The applicant has three hours to complete the 100 multiple-choice questions.
These questions cover a range of different law subjects.
A break takes place after the initial three hours of testing are over.
When the test resumes, the applicants will need to answer another 100 questions in three hours.
Like with state-specific bar exams, the Uniform Bar Exam has a certain number of points available.
Each state has its own point requirement for passing.
Did Joe Biden Practice Law?
Although Biden went to school for law and passed the bar exam, you may wonder if he actually ever practiced law.
Biden is one of the Senators who has a long history working in law.
He became a Public Defender in the state of Delaware and practiced for some time.
He also worked as a professor at the University of Delaware in law education.
Eventually, he’d run for the Senate in Delaware and find himself elected.
Biden would serve as a Senator from Delaware for 36 years.
He’d find himself involved in law again when he became the Vice President of the United States under Barack Obama’s Presidency.
In 2020, he’d achieve the Presidency himself, as the nation’s 46th President.
What Are The Odds of Passing The Bar Exam?
Considering how difficult and complex the bar exam is, you may wonder how likely it is for applicants to pass it.
Biden passed his bar exam on the first try in Delaware.
The state has some of the highest score expectations which makes it difficult to pass, especially on the first attempt.
Other states have a little easier.
Colorado applicants, for example, have a 69% chance of passing the bar exam.
California has a lower chance of succeeding.
It has 40% of its students pass the bar exam.
Missouri has the highest chance of passing the exam with 78%.
Overall, there’s a 58% that an applicant can pass the bar exam.
Can You Pass The Bar Exam On Your First Attempt?
Others may wonder if it’s possible to pass the bar on a single attempt.
Since applicants have to spend a lot of time performing the test and usually have to pay a fee, too, many feel the pressure to pass the bar exam on their first attempt.
Since some states, like Delaware, also only allow you to take the exam once a year, students may also fear that their education may become rusty outside of school.
They may fear that their likelihood of passing the exam decreases with every failed test.
It is possible to pass the bar exam on the first attempt.
Joe Biden did, and several other senators have as well.
That said, many others have not.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, who went to law school at Harvard, had to take the bar exam a second time.
She passed on her second attempt at the exam.
For many students, the second time is easier since they know better how to properly prepare for it.
With the right preparation initially, however, it is possible to pass the exam the first time.
Did Joe Biden Graduate From A T-14 Law School?
No, Joe Biden did not graduate from a T-14 law school.
This is the term used for the top-tier 14 law schools.
These schools include the likes of:
Biden graduated from Syracuse University College of Law.
That ranks at number 111 on the list of best law schools.
Despite that, Biden passed one of the toughest bar exams in the country.
Joe Biden passed the bar exam in the state of Delaware.
It allowed him to practice law in Delaware, which he did as a public defender.
The bar exam differs by state, but many are adopting a Uniform Bar Exam that offers benefits to its applicants.