This week I found out I passed the Ontario barrister’s and solicitor’s exams. It was fantastic news. I started law school back in 2011, graduated in December 2014, and had been studying for about three months before the March sittings. I wrote about the actual exam experience here.
The best part was being able to get in touch with old friends after sharing the news:
Friends, I’m happy to report that I passed the bar exams. Thanks to everyone who supported me throughout the process. Special shout-out goes to MC, DM, ML and VE for their help.
How much should I be celebrating, now that I know I’ve passed? The truth is, I don’t know.
There are some opinion articles out there that say the Ontario bar exams are easy, while others talk about what it’s like to fail. It’s difficult to know how challenging it really is, because anecdotal evidence doesn’t tell the whole story.
The main problem is that stories cannot currently be confirmed or denied by statistics. The Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario’s governing body for lawyers) doesn’t publish the exams’ failure rates.
That’s unfortunate. It makes it difficult to prepare or use diagnostic tests to predict success. It also avoids an obvious way we could be measuring Ontarian law schools’ effectiveness: by measuring graduates’ bar exam pass rates. That practice is common in the United States.
Why doesn’t the LSUC make this information public? Greater transparency would help new graduates prepare to meet a known standard, and assure the public that their new lawyers are meeting a difficult standard. Until then, we can only celebrate our success quietly, not knowing what odds we’ve really overcome.