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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Young Black Lawyer From Baltimore Shatters Bar Exam With Record-Breaking Score

Matthew Graham

Nationwide — Matthew Graham, an African American man from Baltimore, Maryland, is celebrating having passed the bar exam on his first attempt. He scored an impressive 309 out of 400, and the video of his heartfelt reaction has gone viral and has caught the attention of national media.

Graham, who attended the University of Baltimore School of Law, faced challenges throughout his journey to becoming a lawyer. He had to balance his full-time job, being a new husband and father, and his studies. But he took that as a motivation to push through.

Earlier this month, Graham officially walked across the stage in the graduation ceremony after finishing law school one semester early in December 2022. He ranked 7th in his class with an outstanding 3.6 GPA and Magna Cum Laude honors.

Moreover, all his hard work in studying and reviewing paid off as he scored a 309 on the state’s bar exam, landing on the 94th percentile after taking it only once. The average score to pass is reportedly 266, mostly after taking it at least three times.

Graham posted a video on his Facebook page of his emotional reaction upon learning his bar exam score back in April. It caught national attention and touched the hearts of many.

“I understand how significant this is,” Graham told Essence. “Even ever since I passed the bar exam, when I would walk around, for example, today, walking around in the courthouse and you see Black staff or Black parents of other successful people who pass the bar, it’s just pride. They just smile.”

“We know how difficult it is for us to pass this exam. The barriers that are in our way, the bar exam, African Americans, we score the lowest on the bar exam historically. And I don’t think that it’s just enough to say, oh, it’s just because you guys didn’t work as hard or you guys aren’t as smart. No. There is a racial component there that makes our journey more difficult. So, it’s just a lot of pride knowing that regardless of what was put in my way, I was going to get this done,” he added.

Most recently, Graham has officially been sworn in as a licensed attorney to the State of Maryland Bar.

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