Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, November 20, 2001


Page 3


State Bar Applicants Post 56.9 Percent Pass Rate on Latest Exam


By a MetNews Staff Writer


California is on its way to gaining 4,338 new attorneys, the State Bar reported yesterday, as 56.9 percent of applicants passed the July Bar Exam.

The pass rate was about par for the three-day exam, which is given twice each year to law school graduates and a handful of others who are eligible to sit for the test.

Applicants were mailed test results Friday, and were able to access their own results on the State Bar’s website beginning Friday evening. The full pass list was published in yesterday’s MetNews and is now available on the State Bar’s website at

Passing the exam does not by itself guarantee admission to the bar. Prospective lawyers must also pass a separate professional responsibility exam, receive a positive determination of moral character, and show that they have not been reported by local district attorneys for being in arrears in child support payments.

Successful applicants who meet all of those criteria may attend oath ceremonies around the state scheduled for the first week of December. They may also make private arrangements to be sworn in immediately by a state court judge or commissioner, a Court of Appeal or Supreme Court justice, a notary public, a shorthand court reporter, a member of the Legislature, a county officer or a member of the State Bar Board of Governors.

Applicants in the military may be sworn in by their commanding officers, and applicants in foreign countries may take the oath from the U.S. consul.

The State Bar charges a $70 registration fee to law students planning to take the exam, plus another $39 if they fail to register within 90 days of the time they start law school or begin their studies with a lawyer or judge. The State Bar charges $411 for the exam itself, $335 for the moral character application, and $51 for an admission certificate.

The multistate professional responsibility exam is an additional $48, collected by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

The Committee of Bar Examiners reported that 7,618 applicants took the notoriously difficult exam. Of those, 5,302 sat for the test for the first time.

In accordance with statistics from previous years, the success rate for first-timers, at 70 percent, was higher than for the overall group. Repeaters had a total pass rate of 27 percent.

The pass rates also continue to be highest for students from law schools approved by the American Bar Association. Rates were 78.6 percent for those who went to ABA-approved schools in California, 70.3 percent for graduates of ABA schools in other states, 33.3 percent for graduates of non-ABA-approved schools that are accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners, and 14.3 percent for applicants from unaccredited schools.

Some applicants were not allotted to a law school because more than a year passed between graduation and the exam. Also not included in the statistics are applicants who studied with attorneys or judges and did not attend law schools.

The examination is also administered in late February each year. Fewer applicants, many of whom have previously failed, take that exam and passage rates on it are usually lower.

The next exam will be given Feb. 26-28, 2002.

In addition to the applicants passing the general bar examination, an additional 191 lawyers already admitted to practice in other states passed a two-day version of the test, including the essay and “performance” portion but omitting the multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination. Lawyers must have actively practiced at least four years in another jurisdiction to take the attorney exam.

Admission ceremonies for new attorneys will take place on Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St. New attorneys can be sworn in to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California at the same time and place.

Ceremonies will also take place Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Irvine and at the Riverside Historic Court House, and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. at the Sheraton Harbor Island Hotel in San Diego and 4 p.m. at the Ventura Hall of Justice.

There will also be admission ceremonies in Oakland, Sacramento and Fresno on Dec. 3.


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company