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July bar exam pass rate rises to 51.8 percent

The State Bar Committee of Bar Examiners reported last month that 51.8 percent of the wannabe lawyers who took the July bar exam passed. The results mark a sizeable jump from last year's July results, when only 48.8 percent passed. Of the 8,908 people who took the test, 4,616 were successful.

If they satisfy other requirements for admission, they can be sworn in as lawyers, bringing the total bar membership to more than 211,000.

The passing rate for the 6,262 first-timers was 67 percent, compared with the 15 percent success rate for the repeaters. First timers made up 70.3 percent of this year's applicants.

Of the 319 lawyers who took the attorneys' exam, just 114 — 35.7 percent — passed. But even that rate is higher than last July's 28.3 percent pass rate. The attorneys' exam is open to lawyers who have been active and in good standing in another jurisdiction for at least four years.

It consists of the essay and performance sections of the general bar exam, which also includes a multistate bar exam.

The preliminary results of the exam show that students who attend ABA approved law schools in California performed best, with 74 percent of first timers passing. Coming in second were those who attended out-of-state ABA approved schools, with 68 percent passing.

California schools accredited by the State Bar registered a 31 percent pass rate for first time test takers and a 7 percent rate for the repeaters.

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