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July bar exam pass rate stays under 50 percent; only 28 percent pass the attorneys’ exam

Only 48.8 percent of the would-be lawyers who took the July 2005 bar exam passed, a slight increase from the 48.2 percent who passed the exam in July 2004. If the 4,072 successful applicants satisfy the other requirements for admission, they will become members of the State Bar.

The Committee of Bar Examiners also announced last month that just 92 of 325 (28.3 percent) lawyers who took the attorneys’ exam passed.

A total of 8,343 people took the bar exam, and of those, 70.8 percent were first timers. They enjoyed a pass rate of 63.7 percent, compared to only 12.7 percent of those who repeated the exam.

And it pays to go to an ABA-accredited law school. Graduates of ABA-accredited schools in California had a 70 percent pass rate and those who attended an ABA-accredited school out of state passed at the rate of 65 percent. By comparison, graduates of schools accredited by the State Bar had only a 26 percent pass rate.

The July bar exam pass rate has stayed at or under 50 percent since 2002, when it dropped to 50.5 percent from 56.9 percent the previous year. In 2003, it was 49.4 percent. The high point came in 1994, when the rate was 63.2 percent, and the low was in 1951, when the July pass rate stood at 37.6 percent.

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