Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, November 21, 2011


Page 1


State Bar July Pass Rate Is 54.8 Percent, Same as Last Year


By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer


The pass rate for the July 2011 general State Bar examination was 54.8 percent, the exact same as last year, the State Bar announced Friday.

The Committee of Bar Examiners said that a total of 8,456 applicants—106 fewer than last July—took the test, and 4,635 passed, 55 fewer than last July

Recent pass rates for the July exam were 56.4 percent in 2009, 61.7 percent in 2008, and 56.1 percent in 2007.

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 6,080 first-time applicants took the exam last summer and 69 percent passed, compared to first-timer pass rates of 71.1 last year, 70 percent in 2009, 75 percent in 2008, and 69 percent in 2007.

Of the 2,376 repeaters, 18 percent passed, down from 22 percent last year and in 2009.

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

First-Timer Rate Up

Rates were 76 percent for first-timers who went to ABA-approved schools in California, 66 percent for graduates of ABA schools in other states, 35 percent for graduates of non-ABA-approved schools that are accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners, 16 percent for graduates of unaccredited fixed-facility schools, 14 percent for those who went to unaccredited “distance learning” schools, and 31 percent for those who took correspondence courses.

The rate for state-accredited schools is up one percent from last year, and is nine percentage points higher than in 2009. Pass rates in the other categories are slightly lower than for previous iterations of the July exam.

Twenty-six percent of repeat test-takers from in-state ABA-approved schools passed, compared with 21 percent of applicants from such schools in other states, 10 percent from non-ABA schools accredited in California, 3 percent for those from unaccredited fixed-facility schools, 14 percent for correspondence students, and 7 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.

Attorney Exam

In addition to the applicants passing the general bar examination, 137 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.

A total of 396 lawyers took that exam this year, for a passage rate of 34.6 percent, down from 41.6 percent last year, but up from the 32.5 percent who passed in 2009.

Out of the total taking the Attorneys’ Examination, 26 were disciplined lawyers who took the examination as a condition of reinstatement; four disciplined lawyers passed.

Successful applicants who have satisfied other requirements for admission—those who have not been reported by local district attorneys for being in arrears with family or child support payments, who have received positive moral character determinations and who have received a passing score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination—may be sworn in individually or participate in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state during December.


Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company