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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

More than 228,000 lawyers can practice in California

Just over a third of the would-be lawyers who took the February bar exam passed, the Committee of Bar Examiners reported last month. If the 1,596 successful test takers — 37.1 percent — meet the other requirements for admission, they will boost the number of lawyers in California to more than 228,000.

The pass rate was about average for the past 10 years, when the success rate on the February exam fluctuated between 33.4 percent and 40 percent. The rate is higher for the July exam.

Preliminary numbers show that 34.2 percent of the 4,226 applicants were first-timers; exactly half passed the exam. The success rate for the 2,782 repeaters was 31 percent.

Test takers who attended an ABA-accredited law school in California passed at the highest rate — 60 percent — while graduates of unaccredited brick-and-mortar schools had just a 13 percent pass rate.

The committee also announced that 148 — 42.8 percent — of the 346 lawyers who took the attorneys' examination passed. That exam is open to lawyers who have been admitted to the active practice of law in good standing for at least four years in another U.S. jurisdiction.

Successful applicants who satisfy other requirements for admission — those who have not been reported by local district attorneys for being in arrears with family or child support payments, who have received a positive moral character determination and who have passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination — may take the Attorney's Oath individually or participate in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state this month.