December's bar exam results brought good news to 4,184 aspiring California attorneys, who received word that they passed the July bar exam and are eligible to add their names to the State Bar's membership rolls.
The passage rate, 55.9 percent, was the lowest for a July exam since 1991, when 54.9 percent passed. Since 1988, the average pass rate is 58 percent.
A total of 7,487 applicants took the test. Passage rate for first timers was 75.2 percent of the 4,448 applicants who attended law schools approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Of the 627 applicants who studied at schools approved by the committee of bar examiners, but not by the ABA, 41.6 percent passed. Passage rate for the 79 applicants who studied at unaccredited law schools was 20.3 percent.
For the first time, applicants were able to access the State Bar's web site (http://www.calbar.org) and receive results of the bar exam on the day notifications were mailed out.
Successful applicants who satisfied other requirements for admission took the attorney's oath individually or participated in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state in December.