Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, November 22, 2010


Page 3


State Bar Says July Examination Pass Rate Drops to 54.8 Percent


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The pass rate for the July 2010 general State Bar examination was 54.8 percent, a drop of nearly two percentage points from last year, the State Bar announced Friday.

The Committee of Bar Examiners said that a total of  8,562 applicants—100 fewer than last year—took the test, and 4,690—about 200 fewer than in 2009—passed.

Recent pass rates for the July exam were 56.4 percent last year, 61.7 percent in 2008, and 56.1 percent.

The test is given twice each year to law school graduates and a handful of others who are eligible to sit for the test. The full pass list will appear in a supplement to tomorrow’s MetNews.

Pass rates are typically much lower for applicants who have taken the test before and higher for first-timers. The State Bar said that 6,084 first-time applicants took the exam last summer and 71.1 percent passed, compared to first-timer pass rates of 70 percent last year, 75 percent in 2008, and 69 percent in 2007.

Of the 2,478 repeaters, 22 percent passed, the same as last year.

The pass rates continue to be highest for students from law schools approved by the American Bar Association.

Rates were 75 percent for first-timers who went to ABA-approved schools in California, 68 percent for graduates of ABA schools in other states, 40 percent for graduates of non-ABA-approved schools that are accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners, 18 percent for graduates of unaccredited fixed-facility schools, 18 percent for those who went to unaccredited “distance learning” schools, and 33 percent for those who took correspondence courses. The rate for state-accredited schools is up 8 percentage points from last year, while the other numbers are similar to or slightly lower than last year’s.

Thirty-one percent of repeat test-takers from in-state ABA-approved schools passed, compared with 257 percent of applicants from such schools in other states, 11 percent from non-ABA schools accredited in California, 4 percent for those from unaccredited fixed-facility shools, 11 percent for correspondence students, and 16 percent for distance learners.

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.

In addition to the applicants passing the general bar examination, 143 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.

Three hundred thirty-four lawyers took that exam this year, for a passage rate of 41.6 percent, up from 32.5 percent last year but lower than the 43.6 percent who passed in 2008.



Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company