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Monday, November 22, 2004
  Earth-Shattering News : A big public congrats to Sol, Eric, and Hatch for passing the Cal bar exam. As we all know, it's a fraking hard test to pass. Passage was less than 50-percent. But let us look into this a bit. Only people who aren't afraid of earthquakes would move to California... hmmmm... me thinks that the population of test-takers may have been skewed toward the non-thinking classes. (The unintelligensia, as it were.) With that competition I would hope that my boys would all make it into the top 1/2.

Alright, I just inadvertently slammed the all the people from Wisconsin who took the exam and didn't pass--of which there were quite a few. Didn't mean it. Take it back. The earthquake theory doesn't have a solid foundation anyway.

(I should be British, I really should.)

...For all we know the earthquake factor works in exactly the opposite way--only people who are inordinantly confident take the California bar exam, or people who are so smart that they're going to make lots of money very quickly and retire at age 35 to a low-tax state.

Bottom line, we can't measure whatever San-Andreas-fault effect there might be. And in any case, it's a hard test.

[UPDATE: I may have hit a raw nerve with this post. Check out the comments, where Eric posted a whole truckload of information from the California State Bar website, presumably so that readers won't get their information about the exam from me alone. I think his point is that the numbers look different when broken down into first-time and repeat test-takers, and then further based on schooling.]
From the Bar Association's website:

"San Francisco, November 19, 2004 — The State Bar's Committee of Bar Examiners reported today that 48.2 percent of the applicants passed the July 2004 General Bar Examination (GBX).

This rate is just slightly lower than the 49.4 percent passing rate on the July 2003 GBX. If the 3887 people who passed the July 2004 examination satisfy other requirements for admission, they will become members of the State Bar.

Preliminary statistical analyses show that of the 8062 applicants who took the July 2004 GBX, 68.5 percent were first-time takers. The passing rates for the 5521 first-time applicants were:

62.8 percent overall

69.4 percent for applicants who attended California law schools approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

65.8 percent for applicants from ABA schools outside of California

28.6 percent for applicants from schools accredited by the Committee but not approved by the ABA

9.1 percent for applicants who studied law at unaccredited law schools

36.2 percent for correspondence law school applicants

42.3 percent for those that were not allocated to a law school (because they did not take the GBX within one year of graduation) Most of these applicants are graduates of ABA-approved law schools.

For the 2541 applicants repeating the GBX, the passing rates were:

16.6 percent overall

23.5 percent for applicants from California ABA-approved law schools

15.6 percent for applicants from ABA schools outside of California

8.3 percent for applicants from schools accredited by the Committee

5.4 percent for applicants from unaccredited law schools

16.0 percent for correspondence law school applicants

16.8 percent for applicants who were not allocated to a law school"
The most interesting numbers will come out later when they start breaking down the pass/fail percentages by gender, race and school. I think I remember that for the July 2003 bar exam, if you were a white male from an out of state ABA accredited school and were taking the test for the first time, the pass rate was something like 72%. White women were higher, ABA schools in CA had a slightly higher rate than out of state.
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