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Nearly 40 percent pass the February bar exam

Almost 40 percent of the would-be lawyers who took the February bar exam passed, bringing the pass rate almost to its level of three years ago. The Committee of Bar Examiners reported last month that 1,797 people — 39.6 percent of the test takers — passed the exam. If they satisfy other requirements for admission, they will become members of the State Bar, bringing its total membership to nearly 218,000.

The committee also reported that the pass rate for first-time test takers was 53 percent, compared to a success rate of 33 percent for repeaters.

In addition, 39.7 percent of the 378 lawyers who took the Attorneys’ Exam passed.

The pass rate for the February exam has dipped since 2005, when it stood at 40 percent. In 2006, it was 39 percent and last year it fell to 36.8 percent.

Those who attended ABA-accredited law schools in California had the most success among all applicants, with a 62 percent success rate among first-timers and a 43 percent pass rate among repeaters.

The three-day bar exam consists of three sections, a multiple choice Multistate Bar Examination, six essay questions and two performance tests that assess a potential lawyer’s ability to apply general legal knowledge to practical tasks.

The next bar exam will be administered in July.

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