Rules for admission to the Mississippi Bar set to change

Bar Exam Changes

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -The Mississippi Supreme Court is weighing in on a petition to change the rules for admission to the Mississippi Bar. Starting next February, if you fail the bar exam three times, you’ll have to go back to law school for 12 more hours of coursework.

And some, including one of the justices, thinks it should be three strikes and you’re out.

“Three times and you flunk the bar?," asked attorney John Reeves. "And you’re going to get out and represent people who are charged with crimes and who get hurt in accidents and they’re depending on you? My goodness, who wants a flunked out lawyer?”

Attorney John Reeves thinks a drop in law school class size nationwide is partly to blame.

“The field is saturated," Reeves noted. "There’s too many lawyers out there and people know that. Consequently, the law schools are dependent on the money. They need the money to pay their bills. And they’re allowing people to apply to law school and letting them in that otherwise wouldn’t get in. That may sound not good to say but it’s just the cold hard truth.”

Other attorneys say there could be some other benefits to the rule change.

“Having a safety valve, 12 additional hours, is frankly a small price to pay versus the alternative of nothing," explained family law attorney Matthew Thompson. "I mean, if it’s three strikes you’re out, everything that you thought you’d worked towards in your adult life, it’s not going to be practicing law.”

The Dean of the Mississippi College School of Law says they support limiting the number of attempts before meeting additional requirements. But they had recommended four attempts and don’t think 12 additional hours of coursework is the answer. They instead would rather see requirement of a bar prep course or working with a practicing attorney.

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