Will Anyone Know If I Failed The Bar Exam? - JD Advising
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Will Anyone Know If I Failed The Bar Exam

Will Anyone Know If I Failed The Bar Exam?

Will Anyone Know If I Failed The Bar Exam?If you left the bar exam feeling less than confident then you might be worrying you failed. On top of that worry, you might be worrying about everyone knowing that you failed the bar exam. Failing the bar exam can be an awful feeling but it is nothing you cannot overcome. But having to explain to everyone you know that failing the bar exam really is not the end of the world can worry you even more. Whether you failed the bar exam (or you’re just coming up with your plan B) then you may be asking “Will anyone know if I failed the bar exam?” Well, like many questions you will face as a lawyer, the answer is, “It depends.”

Will Anyone Know If I Failed The Bar Exam?

It depends on your jurisdiction you took the bar exam and whether they post a public list. Spoiler alert. The majority of US jurisdictions do. Find out what your jurisdiction does below to know whether or not the anyone one will know if you failed the bar exam.

Jurisdictions that post a public list

Unfortunately, the majority of jurisdictions post a list of the people who have passed the bar exam that is accessible to the general public. These public lists are available on the bar exam administers’ websites. Many are searchable, so once the list is posted people who are curious how you did can search your name to see if you are on the list.

Note that some of these states (e.g., Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina) will only post a list if you passed the bar exam AND met all other requirements for admission (e.g., passing MPRE score, etc.). So technically, in some of these jurisdictions, you may pass the bar exam and still not see your name on this list.

The jurisdictions that publicly post who passes the bar exam are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • Northern Mariana Islands

Luckily, some of the states that post public lists of who passed the bar exam give the applicants a heads up before the rest of the world knows. For example, Michigan, Maine, and New York let the applicants know ahead of time whether or not they passed before posting a public pass list.

Other states posts pass lists of applicants bar exam ID or seat numbers. That way only you and people who know your number will know if you failed the bar exam. So keep your number to yourself if you want to keep your bar exam result on the down low. Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland post “public” bar exam past lists with only ID numbers.

Jurisdictions that do not post any type of pass list

There are only a handful of states that do not post a public list of bar exam results to let the world know whether or not you passed the bar exam. If you are wondering “will people know whether or not I fail the bar exam?” you are in luck if you took the bar in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Wyoming, or Puerto Rico because they no one will have a clue if you failed the bar exam unless you tell them.

Mystery jurisdictions

Despite the fact that it is 2018 and you can practically find the answer to every question online we cannot determine whether the remaining jurisdictions post public bar exam results. If you know whether or not the following jurisdictions post a public list of their bar exam results please let us know in the comments below!

  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • America Samoa
  • Guam
  • Palau
  • Virgin Islands

Now that you know whether or not your bar exam jurisdiction posts a public list of the people that pass the bar exam you can find out when to expect your February 2018 bar exam results in this post.

Also worth noting is that you do not have to explain to anyone who isn’t your employer why you performed the way you did on the bar exam.  A lot of people know that when people fail the bar exam others can stress you out or manage to make you feel worse even though they may be trying to comfort. If someone asks who you would rather not talk to about it just calmly answer and change the subject. “Yeah, I did not pass on my first try so I’ll be retaking it later. Anyway, tell me about that new Indian restaurant you tried!” They’ll get the hint.

If you do end up failing the bar exam it is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Many successful lawyers have failed the bar exam. You can retake it and you will pass it and become a lawyer. Don’t give up!

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