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California State Bar Passage Rate Dips Slightly, Still Strong
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The State Bar of California’s Committee of Bar Examiners released the passage rate for those that took February’s Bar Exam, and found that it is slightly lower than it was for the same test in 2012. 41% of those that sat for the February 2013 exam passed the test, a drop of 1.2% from February 2012, which saw 42.2% percent pass. A total of 1,810 people who sat for the bar last February will be admitted.

A total of 4,419 people sat for the California State Bar exam in February, and 31% of those (1,370) were taking the test for the first time. Among first-time test-takers, the passage rate was 52%, and for those repeating the exam, the rate was 36%. The passage rate for students from ABA accredited schools was 50%, and 82% of the students that passed were from California.

  
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In addition to those that passed the bar, 230 (50%) of the 460 lawyers who took the Attorney’s Examination, a modified, smaller version of the Bar Exam, passed.

While the passing rate showed a slight dip this year, 41% is still a good number. Known for having one of the more difficult bar exams in the United States, California had an eight year streak, from 2002 to 2010, of having a February exam passage rate of less than 40%. The lowest February passage rate in California was in 2002, when only 33.4% of those taking the test passed. The fact that this year’s rate is above 41% can be considered something of a victory for the state’s legal community.

February’s rate is significantly lower than the passage rate for those taking the July 2012 exam as well, which was 55.3%. The July exam traditionally has a higher passage rate than the February one, due primarily to the fact that law students graduate prior to and then sit for the July exam.

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