The summer Bar exam given to prospective California lawyers had its lowest pass rate since 1986 -- 49.4%. The 7,788 candidates who took the July exam were the most in 23 years, the Metro News-Enterprise reports. Although the percentage of failures is unusually high, the breakdowns are said to be fairly typical. First-time exam takers passed at a decent 63% rate, while repeaters put up an ugly 18%. Candidates from better American Bar Association-approved schools did the best, 71%, while those from unaccredited law schools stunk up the place with only 15% passing.
Passing the exam does not by itself guarantee admission to the bar. Prospective lawyers must also pass a separate professional responsibility exam, receive a positive determination of moral character, and show that they have not been reported by local district attorneys for being in arrears in child support payments.
The exam is also given in winter to fewer applicants, and more repeaters, so typically has a lower pass rate than the larger summer exam.