Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Page 1


July Bar Exam Pass Rate Falls Below 50 Percent




The pass rate for the July 2014 general State Bar exam fell below 50 percent, the State Bar reported.

In a release late Friday, the State Bar said 4,135 of 8,504 applicants, or 48.6 percent, passed. That is the lowest percentage since 2004, when 48.2 percent—the lowest figure in at least 18 years up to that point—passed.

Preliminary statistical analyses showed that of the applicants who took the exam, 73.1 percent were first-time takers, the State Bar said. The passing rate for the 6,220 first-time applicants was 61 percent overall.

The passing rate for the 2,284 applicants repeating the examination was 14 percent overall. The wide gap between first-timers and repeaters is typical.

The State Bar also broke down the results by law school type.

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

Rates were 69 percent for first-timers who went to ABA-approved schools in California, 60 percent for graduates of ABA schools in other states, 33 percent for graduates of non-ABA-approved schools that are accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners, 24 percent for graduates of unaccredited schools with fixed facilities, 29 percent for graduates of correspondence schools, and 19 percent for graduates of unaccredited “distance learning” schools.  

Twenty-three percent of repeat test-takers from in-state ABA-approved schools passed, compared with 14 percent of out-of-state applicants from such schools, eight percent from non-ABA schools accredited in California, two percent for graduates of brick-and-mortar unaccredited schools, six percent for those who went to correspondence schools, and four percent to distance learners.

Last year’s rates for first-timers who went to accredited schools last year were 70 percent for those who went to ABA-approved schools in California, 65 percent for graduates of ABA schools in other states, and 26 percent for graduates of state accredited non-ABA-approved schools.

Those figures, the State Bar said, do not include “attorneys admitted in other states who either chose or were required to take the GBX, attorneys admitted in foreign jurisdictions, law students in the Law Office/Judge’s Chambers Study Program or law students who qualified to take the GBX through four years of law study.”

More detailed statistics, including passing rates by individual law schools, will be made available in approximately four to six weeks and published on the State Bar’s website, according to the release.

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, 131 (31.4 percent) of the 417 lawyers who took the Attorneys’ Examination passed. Out of the total taking the Attorneys’ Examination, 13 were disciplined lawyers who took the examination as a condition of reinstatement; one disciplined lawyer 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 a positive moral character determination and who have passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination – may either take the oath individually or participate in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state next month, the release said.

Names of those who passed the exam may be found in a supplement to today’s MetNews.


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