What are my Chances of Passing the Quebec Bar? Part 1: Total Pass Rate and Law School

Quebec Bar Pass Rate

In this era of daily statistic counts, let’s take a look at the stats for passing the Quebec Bar. Every year, the Barreau du Quebec releases statistics for that year. Digging through the internet, I managed to find the official statistics for the last nine cycles going back to 2010-2011 and I compiled them (might as well put all those statistics classes to use). Now we can get a bird’s eye view of how the pass rate has evolved over time and the impact of other factors. And regarding statistics, a big thank you as this site just reached 100,000 page views.

This post will look at the overall pass rate by year and the pass rate by law school. Future posts will look at the pass rate by student ranking, whether preparatory classes have an impact, and the pass rate before and after the retake.

First off, let’s look at how the overall pass rate (factoring in the retake) has changed over the past nine cycles:

Quebec Bar Statistics Pass Rate Statistiques Barreau Quebec

Total Pass Rate (after the Retake)

As we can see, the pass rate has hovered around 80% over these nine cycles, 80.90% being the precise average. At first glance, this would appear to be quite high, but breaking this down, it means that nearly one out of every five students who writes the Quebec Bar after obtaining a law degree does not pass the Quebec Bar. And this after writing the retake. In addition, we can see how the pass rate has trended down over the last two cycles. Last year, the 2018-2019 cycle, was actually the worst year of those analyzed.

Now for the kicker, what effect does your law school have on your pass rate?

Quebec Bar Statistics Pass Rate Statistiques Barreau Quebec

Total Pass Rate (after the Retake) by Law School

We see the university attended does have a noticeable impact on your chances of passing the Quebec Bar. University of Montreal and University of Sherbrooke generally trade the top spot, but McGill is not to be forgotten, as it sometimes steals the podium (albeit not for the last couple of years). On other hand, we see that University of Ottawa has consistently finished at the bottom (except one year where it finished second to last). However, it should be mentioned that there are no statistics for the student ranking (R1 to R4) breakdown for each university and it would be false to state that these rankings are equally distributed across each of the different universities. Ultimately, Bar statistics are only one way to rank different law schools and in and of themselves are not enough to determine which university is best.

Now, don’t let these statistics frighten you. Hard work and study ultimately are the determining factors in whether you you pass the Bar. And the reality is that independent of your law school, you need to study. As will be seen in Part 2, your student ranking has a significant impact on your chances of passing and it should guide you in determining whether or not you should sign up for preparatory classes. Part 3 will delve into the statistics for the retake and will show that the pass rate after the first sitting is quite low, but that most of those who rewrite ultimately pass.

(Quelques statistiques par rapport au taux de réussite pour l’examen de l’École du Barreau du Québec. Le taux de réussite a baissé ces dernières années. L’université choisie affecte le taux de réussite, mais d’autres facteurs tels que le niveau (R1 à R4) des étudiants sont aussi déterminants.)

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7 Responses

  1. MO says:

    Do you have the stats on Ontario Bar passing rate for UofO? As in, is the last place standing compensated by better odds vs some other schools for Ontario Bar?

    • Matthew Meland says:

      I will look into the question and see if I can dig some of those stats up. Thanks for reaching out

  2. john says:

    Do you know how many times you can retake the Quebec bar if you fail and how long you must wait in between failures?

    • Matthew Meland says:

      If you don’t get through the Quebec Bar, there is an immediate retake a couple of weeks later. If you are not successful on the retake, then you have to wait until the next academic year (i.e. August). To the best of my knowledge, there is no limit on the number of times you can retake the Quebec Bar.

  3. Indie says:

    Will I receive my law degree after finishing law school or after passing the bar exam?

    • Matthew Meland says:

      You get your law degree from law school, but you are only allowed to practice as a lawyer once you have passed the Bar Exam and completed your articling (legal apprenticeship).

  1. June 9, 2020

    […] Part 1 of the statistics posts, we saw how the Quebec Bar pass rate has evolved over time and how […]

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