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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

42.3 percent pass the February bar exam

Just over 42 percent of the would-be lawyers who took the February bar exam passed, the Committee of Bar Examiners announced last month. If the 1,848 successful test-takers satisfy other requirements for admission, they will join the bar, pushing the number of California lawyers past the 230,000 mark.

Of the 4,364 applicants who took the exam, 32.4 percent were first-time takers. They had a passing rate of 55 percent, compared to a 36 percent success rate for repeaters.

The success rate was the highest on any February exam in the past 10 years. Last year’s pass rate was 37.6 percent.

The committee also announced that 172 (42.9 percent) of the 401 lawyers who took the attorneys’ exam passed. Of those, 20 were disciplined lawyers who took the examination as a condition of reinstatement; just four passed.

The attorneys’ 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 United States jurisdiction.

Successful applicants who have satisfied 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 either take the Attorney’s Oath individually or participate in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state during June 2011.