Hardest Bar Exams in The World: Most parents want their children to become a Lawyer and the only way of becoming a lawyer in any country of your choice, is being called to the bar. To be called to the bar, the necessary prerequisite is passing your bar exams, as without passing your bar exams, you cannot be called to the bar.
Each country of the world has their legal system and system of legal education which means the system in the country for training students to become Lawyers and while some of these system of Legal education are flexible, some others are slightly rigid making it difficult for students to easily scale through as you have to be exceptionally sound to be able to pass the bar exam in flying colours.
For this purpose, this article shall examine some of these slightly rigid system of legal education and we shall discuss the difficulty which aspirants of the bar face in order to pass their bar exams and be called to the bar in that jurisdiction.
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Top 10 Most Difficult/Hardest Bar Exams in The World
Some of these systems of education which seems rigid and as a result make it difficult of students to pass their bar exams are:
1. South Korea Bar Exam: The South Korea bar examination is the nationally administered examination for admission into the bar association in the state and it is regulated by the National bar Examination Act 2018. As provided under this act, for a person to be eligible to sit for this bar examination, such a person must have attained a Juris doctorate degree program (JD).
This bar exam is regarded as one of the hardest bar exams in the world. Candidates will be taught and examined in areas of private law, criminal law, public law, and some other electives. This bar exam usually comes in three rounds; usually a Multiple choice test, an essay and an interview round. The technicality of these three processes makes passing the bar exam very difficult, little wonder bar aspirants has recorded only a 40% success rate, and only 1,500 bar candidates are called to the bar to practice as a Lawyer and Attorney in South Korea each year.
2. California Bar Exam: With United States of America being a country thriving on independence of state, each state has its own bar association; the state of California inclusive.
The state bar of California bar is one of the largest State bar association in the country with over 260,000 members, and this has contributed in making it difficult for one to become a member of this association as generally to become a member you must pass the bar exam of California, but more recently passing this bar exam appears difficult.
This bar exam is taken twice a year and consists of three parts: An essay question segment, a performance test and multiple choice questions. Over 9,000 applicants sit for this examination annually and it has a pass rate of only 34% which reflects how difficult this bar exam appears to pass.
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3. Nigeria Bar Exam: The Nigerian bar examination was established by the Legal Education Act 1962 and as a result it is regulated by the council of Legal education in the country.
For a person to be called to the Nigerian bar, such a person must pass the Nigerian Law school bar finals organized by this council of legal education. However, passing this examination is not an easy hurdle as the system of grading in the Nigerian Law School makes it difficult for a person to pass this Bar Exam.
In the Nigerian Law School, they offer five courses, namely: Criminal Litigation, Civil Litigation, Corporate Law practice, Property Law practice, and Professional Ethics and skills, and the system of grading in this Nigerian Law school is Grading based on your lowest score. Thus, meaning that if you get an A in 4 courses and just a C in the 5th course, you will get a 2’2 or even an ordinary pass most at times.
This stringent system of grading makes it difficult for students to get a good grade at the Nigerian law school and most at times even pass the Bar examination, last year out of 5,770 students who sat for this bar exam, 1,326 failed. Similar statistics of failure has been recorded over the years, as the failure rate at the Nigeria bar examination is well over 27% each year. So therefore, it is one of the most difficult bar exams in the world.
4. Philippine Bar Exam: Philippine Bar Exam is the licensure examination for Lawyers in Philippines. Thus, for you to become a Lawyer in Philippines, you must undergo and pass this bar examination.
This Bar examination is regulated by the supreme court of Philippine and administered through its bar examination committee once every year. To be eligible to participate in this Examination, you must be a Philippine resident over 21 years of age, and you must be a holder of a Bachelor degree and a professional degree from an accredited law school in the state, and you must be devoid of neither any charge nor evidence of bad character.
By so doing, you can apply and enroll for this bar examination which consists of subjects on Civil Law, Labour law, Criminal Law, Taxation, Commercial Law, Political and International Law, Legal Ethics and Practical skills, and Remedial Law. To pass this examination, you need to score above 50% in each of these subjects, and the difficulty of many students meeting up with this grading system has been reflected by the students passing rate of only 59%, a rate which was even considerably lower in the past decade.
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5. New York State Bar Exam: The New York State Bar examination is administered twice a year (February and July) by the New York State board of Law Examiners to candidates seeking admission to practice Law in New York.
This New York Uniform Bar examination consists of Multistate bar examination (MBE), Multi state performance test (MPT), and Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). This Uniform bar examination is considered as a really difficult examination as to pass you need to attain a score of at least 270 on a scale of 400, and over the years it has recorded a success rate of only 63%.
6. Japan bar exam: The Japanese bar examination otherwise known as the National bar examination is administered by the Judicial Examination Management committee in the state in accordance with the Judicial Examination Law.
To be eligible for this examination, you must have graduated from an accredited Law school in the country and you must be fluent in Japanese. Importantly, you must pass this examination to be called to the bar to practice as a Lawyer in Japan and become a member of the Japan federation of bar associations (JFBA).
However, passing this examination seems difficult as the passing rate recorded over the past decade is only 50%, so therefore making it invariably one of the most difficult bar examinations in the world.
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7. Singapore bar exam: The Singapore bar examination is administered by the Singapore institute of legal education (SILE) once every year as a requirement to be called to the Singapore bar.
To be eligible for this bar examination, you must have attained the age of at least 21 years, you must have graduated from a law school in the state, you must be of a good character, and you must have completed the preparatory courses of instruction prescribed by the board of directors.
This examination consists of both a Part A and Part B examination which you must successfully undergo to be called to the Singapore bar, and the passing rate of candidates over the years in this examination is only 30% and it promises to implement a more stringent bar examination system from 2023.
8. Italian bar exam: The Italian bar examination otherwise known as abilitazione all’esercizio della professione forense (qualification to practice the legal profession) is an examination undertaken by candidates in italy whom must have completed a five year university law degree and an 18 months legal apprenticeship at a law firm in the state.
This bar examination composes of two parts; an oral and written part and it is relatively difficult, recording a pass rate of 60% over the years.
9. Ghanaian bar examination: The Ghanaian bar examination is administered by the General legal council. This examination is considered to be rigorous and very difficult. As of 2019, out of 450 students who sat for this Ghana law school bar exam, only 64 students (14%) passed the examination.
The success rate has been in similar figures since then, so therefore this definitely one of the most difficult bar exams in the world.
10. Ontario bar exams: The Ontario bar exams otherwise known as the Licensing examination is administered by the Law society of Ontario as a key requirement for a person to practice as a lawyer or provide paralegal services in Ontario, Canada.
To be eligible for this examination, you must have graduated from a law program at an approved university in Canada; you must have filled the required licensing application documents and paid the requisite fees. This examination consists of a self study, multiple choice, and an open book barrister/solicitor examination and it is regarded as the hardest state bar exam in Canada with a failure rate of over 20%.
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In conclusion, while the bar examination hasn’t proven to be easy anywhere, these aforementioned bar exams rank tall as the most difficult in the world based on the structure and technicality of the examination, and the success and failure rate recorded therein over the years.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.