Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Page 1


Pass Rate on July State Bar Exam Rises Above 55 Percent




The pass rate for the July 2012 general State Bar examination was 55.3 percent, a slight increase over the last two years, the State Bar announced.

In a release late Friday, the Committee of Bar Examiners said that a total of 8,737 applicants—281 more than last July—took the test, and 4,834 passed, 199 more than last July

Recent pass rates for the July exam were 54.8 percent in each of the previous two years, 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. A list of those who passed is contained in a supplement to today’s MetNews.

Typical Rate

Pass rates are typically much lower for applicants who have taken the test before and higher for first-timers. The State Bar said that 6,485 first-time applicants took the exam last summer and 68 percent passed, compared to first-timer pass rates of 69 percent last year, 71.1 the year before, 70 percent in 2009, 75 percent in 2008, and 69 percent in 2007.

Of the 2,252 repeaters, 18 percent passed. That was the same percentage as last year, which was down from 22 percent in both 2010 and in 2009.

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

Rates were 77 percent for first-timers who went to ABA-approved schools in California, 64 percent for graduates of ABA schools in other states, 32 percent for graduates of non-ABA-approved schools that are accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners, 14 percent for graduates of unaccredited fixed-facility schools, 20 percent for those who went to unaccredited “distance learning” schools, and 30 percent for those who took correspondence courses.

The rate for state-accredited schools is up one percent from last year. Pass rates in the other categories are slightly lower than for previous iterations of the July exam, except in the distance-learning category, where only 14 percent passed last year.

Low Repeater Rates

Twenty-four percent of repeat test takers from in-state ABA-approved schools passed, compared with 21 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 schools, 16 percent for correspondence students, and 15 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, 152 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 435 lawyers took that exam this year, for a passage rate of 34.9 percent, up from 34.6 percent last year.

Out of the total taking the Attorneys’ Examination, 25 were disciplined lawyers who took the examination as a condition of reinstatement, and only one 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 2012, Metropolitan News Company