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33.5 percent pass February bar exam

Just 33.5 percent of the would-be lawyers who took the February bar examination passed, down from the 40 percent pass rate of a year ago and the lowest rate for a February exam since 2002, when it fell to a low of 33.4 percent. The Committee of Bar Examiners reported last month that 1,368 people passed the exam. If they satisfy other requirements for admission, they will become members of the State Bar, bringing its total membership to more than 222,000.

The committee also reported that the pass rate for first-time test takers was 47 percent, compared to a success rate of just 26 percent for repeaters.

In addition, 163 (45.2 percent) of the 361 lawyers who took the attorneys’ exam passed.

In the last decade, the pass rate on the February exam, which is typically lower than the rate for the July test, ranged from the low of 33.4 percent in 2002 to a high of 41.1 percent in 1999.

Those who attended ABA-accredited law schools in California had the most success among all applicants, with a 53 percent success rate among first-timers and a 37 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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