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35.3 percent pass the February bar exam

The Committee of Bar Examiners announced last month that 35.3 percent of the would-be lawyers who took the February bar exam passed. That rate compares with the 37.5 percent pass rate for the February 2003 exam.

If the 1,550 successful test-takers satisfy other requirements for admission to the bar, they will boost the number of attorneys in California to more than 197,000.

Of the 4,386 applicants, 1,310 (29.9 percent) were first timers. Of those, 46.6 percent passed.

The committee also announced that 191 — 54.1 percent — of the 353 lawyers who took the attorneys’ exam passed. That percentage compares with 60.7 percent for the February 2003 exam.

Because of two mishaps during the exam — flooding in Pasadena due to heavy rains and a statewide computer glitch for some laptop users — the bar asked professional test consultants to determine whether some scores should be adjusted.

The experts concluded that the test scores of laptop users in Pasadena were essentially what they would have been had there been no flooding. Those individuals received no adjustment.

Candidates who experienced a more than five-minute delay because of the computer glitch were awarded additional points as a function of how long a delay they experienced.

The committee said it “believes that it has taken appropriate steps to adjust the scores of those who were impacted by” the two mishaps.

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