Michigan Bar Exam Appeal Attorneys: How to Choose One.
Looking for a good attorney to write your Michigan bar exam appeal? Out of all of the Michigan bar exam appeals attorneys that are out there, how do choose one? In this post, we delineate the questions you should ask the Michigan bar exam appeals attorneys that you talk to. Asking the below questions will help you make an informed decision about who should take on the task of writing your Michigan bar exam appeal. The stakes are high so it is worth it to spend time making sure you choose wisely!
Update 1/1/23: Michigan no longer allows examinees to appeal their bar exam score! We will no longer be writing appeals for Michigan Bar Exam takers.
Questions to Ask the Michigan Bar Exam Appeal Attorneys that you talk to:
- How long have you been writing Michigan bar exam appeals? If the firm or attorney cannot answer this question or says they just started right now, it is something to seriously consider. There are a lot of “pop up” appeals shops out there. These attorneys may not be able to advise you very well on whether you should appeal, and their appeal-writing skills may have not stood the test of time! It does not mean that they are a bad choice, but it is an important question to ask so you know what you’re getting into. There is a lot on the line to choose someone without experience.
- How many Michigan bar exam appeals do you write each administration? If the answer is only “one” I’d be wary. I’d also be wary of the answer is “40” because that generally means they probably won’t be able to spend as much time on yours. We usually cap the number of Michigan bar exam appeals that we write so that we can really spend time on each Michigan bar exam appeal to write the best appeals possible. Note that it is also important to retain an attorney relatively early or else you might be stuck with a bad attorney or no attorney!
- How many points do you usually get back on appeal? This question doesn’t always have an easy answer. For example, when we write appeals, we frequently have clients who just need one point to pass on appeal. (For the February 2015 administration, we had three clients who only needed one point – and all passed!) Since the Michigan Board of Law Examiner’s stops grading when you get the number of points you need back, you don’t generally get more than you need. But it is still a question that is worth asking.
- How many times have you gotten [the amount of points I need] back on appeal? This is a very important question. We talked to a person during the last bar exam administration who was going to retain a firm – and was literally writing the check – when she called us to ask if it was the right thing to do. She needed nine points on appeal. It was shocking to us that a firm would accept an appeal when the client needed nine points to pass on appeal as nine points is nearly impossible to get, even with good arguments. We asked to see her essays to see if perhaps an essay was severely under-graded (i.e. if she was given a 0 when it looked like she deserved a 10). None of her essays seemed to be under-graded by a significant amount. We recommended that she ask the firm how many times they had received nine points on appeal. She took our advice, and when she asked them that question, they responded they had never received nine points on appeal. (In fact, the highest number of points they had ever received on appeal was significantly lower!) This question saved her a lot of money and allowed her to prepare well for the July 2015 bar exam instead of getting her hopes on an expensive appeal that would likely amount to nothing.
- How much does it cost? This seems obvious but there is quite a range of costs and pay structures. This is definitely something that you should ask and consider when choosing a Michigan bar exam appeals attorney. However, even if the cost sounds high, it is important to recognize that paying money up front now can help you get your license six months sooner, which, in theory, means you could make a higher income as an attorney sooner. (It also means you won’t have to retake the Michigan bar exam if you pass which is in and of itself a great reward!)
- Do you recommend I appeal my score? Get an honest opinion – and get more than one! You can call us or email us free of charge and ask us and we will happily review your answers and let you know what we think. The attorney you talk to should recognize both the advantages, disadvantages, and possibility that an appeal may be unsuccessful. They should also ask to review your essays before making a final recommendation. If an attorney says “yes” without knowing much about your score or your essays, I’d be wary of retaining that attorney.
When you are looking up Michigan bar exam appeals attorneys, don’t be afraid to shop around. In fact, tell the attorney that you talk to that you are talking to other Michigan bar exam appeal attorneys. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone and it shows that you are truly exploring your options to make an informed decision in this high-stakes scenario.
If you want to read more about Michigan bar exam appeals, we have a plethora of Michigan bar exam appeals posts here (including: how to figure out how many points you need on appeal, if you should write your own, how the process works, etc.). Visit our Michigan bar exam appeals services page here.
Looking to Pass the Bar Exam on Appeal?
Check out our information on Michigan bar exam appeals here. JD Advising founder and her partner founded the Heidemann Jabbori law firm. This firm frequently writes the vast majority of passing appeals in the State of Michigan. It wrote all of the passing appeals in Michigan for the July 2018 Michigan bar administration.