African American Law Graduate Scores Amongst Highest on Bar Exam, Sets New Precedent for Diversity in the Legal Profession

Matthew Graham, a recent African American law school graduate, has emerged as a trailblazer in the legal profession, overcoming numerous challenges to achieve a remarkable milestone. Graduating early from law school with honors was just the beginning of his journey. His biggest hurdle yet was passing the Bar Exam, a test that has deterred countless law graduates from entering courtrooms worldwide. Today, Matthew’s outstanding achievement has shattered barriers and set a new precedent for diversity in the legal profession.

Scoring a remarkable 309, Matthew not only passed the Bar Exam but dominated it, ranking in the 94th percentile among all test takers. His exceptional score is a testament to years of hard work, sacrifice, desire, and meticulous preparation. As one of the mere 5% of attorneys in the U.S. who identify as African American, Matthew’s accomplishment signifies the critical importance of diversity and representation within the legal field.

With a pass rate of just 32% in February 2023 for Maryland test takers, Matthew faced a daunting challenge. However, he embarked on an intensive study regimen, investing 55-60 hours per week for 9 weeks, even taking unpaid leave from work to focus on his preparation. His determination and dedication paid off as he exceeded expectations, surpassing the required score of 266 by an impressive 43 points, thereby qualifying to practice law not only in Maryland but also in all 41 uniform bar examination states across the country.

Matthew’s achievement holds immense significance in a profession where African Americans remain underrepresented, comprising only 5% of the legal community in the United States. According to an American Bar Association study, African Americans also pass the bar exam at the lowest rate among all races. By setting a new standard of excellence, Matthew serves as an inspiration to aspiring attorneys and underscores the importance of diversity in building a robust and inclusive legal system.

Beyond triumphing over adversity, Matthew’s story shines a light on the critical issue of mental health. Throughout his journey, he leaned on the unwavering support and encouragement of his wife, recognizing the invaluable role of a strong support system. Matthew’s pursuit of success required significant personal sacrifices to preserve his mental and physical well-being, emphasizing the need for holistic support mechanisms within the legal profession.

We invite you to join us in celebrating Matthew Graham’s groundbreaking achievement, a milestone that symbolizes the limitless potential of determination, resilience, and the pursuit of excellence. This remarkable story serves as a catalyst for meaningful conversations on the importance of diversity and mental health within the legal field.

Photo Credits: Pieces of Cee (Ciara Graham)