DES MOINES — Iowa Judicial Branch data shows that more than three-fourths of those who took Iowa's bar exam passed this year.
The state had a 78 percent pass rate this year, compared to 68 percent in 2016. Of the 260 people who took the Iowa bar in 2017, 204 passed.
There's been a nationwide decline in people passing state bar exams since 2010, according to National Conference of Bar Examiners data.
The percentage of people who passed the Iowa bar on their first try increased in 2017. Data show that most of those who took the exam graduated from Drake University and the University of Iowa.
Jerry Anderson, the dean of Drake's law school, said the high passing percentage shows that programs are effectively admitting and training students.
"I think this shows that Iowa's two law schools are accepting students who are capable of doing well in the classrooms and of doing a good job at passing the bar," he said.
Some of the nation's law schools have lowered entrance standards to combat plummeting enrollment. The more than 200 accredited U.S. law schools have seen enrollment drop about 30 percent since 2010.
University of Iowa and Drake law schools have also seen enrollment decline.
More than 460 students attended Drake's law school in 2011, according to the American Bar Association. The school had about 300 students enrolled this year, Anderson said.
"We've become more selective," Anderson said.
The exams include essays, multiple-choice questions and a review of fundamental tasks beginning lawyers are expected to know.