Nearly 80 percent pass state's July bar examination

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The passage rate for the July 2011 Pennsylvania bar exam was 79.81 percent, according to the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners.

The passage rate was lower than the peak of 82.8 percent reached in July 2008, which had been the highest passage rate since 1994.

The passage rate on the July bar examinations, while dipping below the July 2008 level, has remained high with 79.67 percent of applicants passing in 2010, 81.33 percent passing in 2009 and 82.8 percent passing in 2008.

Of the 2,110 test-takers in July 2011, 1,684 passed.

First-time candidates taking the exam in July saw a slight uptick in their passage rate between 2010 and 2011: Of the 1,922 first-timers in 2011, 85.07 percent passed. Of the 1,801 first-timers in 2010, 84.68 percent passed.

Of applicants who took the bar examination again, 26.92 percent of 78 applicants who took the exam a second time passed, 38.78 percent of the 49 applicants who took the exam a third time passed, and 14.75 percent of 61 applicants who took the exam a fourth or more time passed.

Gicine Brignola, executive director of the board, said that the number of applicants has been increasing.

There were 2,110 applicants for the July 2011 exam, 2,027 for the July 2010 exam, 1,998 applicants for the July 2009 exam, 1,911 applicants for the July 2008 exam and 2,044 applicants for the July 2007 exam.

The number of applicants taking the test on their computers has continued to increase, Ms. Brignola said. In July 2010, 75 percent of applicants used their computers, she said. In July of this year, 80 percent of applicants used their computers.

Local School Pass Rates

Area school rankings remained on par with 2010 results.

The bar passage rates of area law schools also appear to be on their way to meeting a three-year-old American Bar Association rule, which says that law schools must reach a certain bar passage rate threshold (75 percent) in order to maintain accreditation.

The University of Pennsylvania Law School had the highest passage rate among Pennsylvania-area schools, with 96.92 percent of its 65 graduates who sat for the exam passing. Only two applicants from the school did not pass.

The school also had the highest passage rate for first-time applicants, at 96.92 percent.

Temple University's Beasley School of Law had the second highest passage rate with 88.11 percent, or 215 applicants, passing the bar.

Of first-time applicants who graduated from Temple, 91.74 percent passed. Temple had the most applicants sitting for the test, with 244.

Villanova University School of Law was close on the heels of Temple with an 88.07 percent overall passage rate for its 176 applicants. Villanova's first-time bar passage rate was 91.57 percent.

Rutgers School of Law-Camden had the lowest passage rate with 76.32 percent, or 116 applicants, passing the bar. A total of 152 graduates from Rutgers-Camden took the July bar exam.

Widener University School of Law-Harrisburg had the lowest passage rate for first-time applicants at 80 percent of the 100 Widener-Harrisburg applicants who took the bar for the first time.

The overall passage rates from other Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware law schools for the July 2011 exam are:

• Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law: 84.47 percent of 103 applicants;

• Duquesne University School of Law: 78.30 percent of 203 applicants;

• Penn State's Dickinson School of Law: 84.35 percent of 115 applicants;

• University of Pittsburgh School of Law: 82.45 percent of 188 applicants;

• Widener University School of Law-Delaware: 79.04 percent of 167 applicants; and

• Widener University School of Law-Harrisburg: 76.64 percent of 107 applicants.

The overall passage rates from other regional law schools for first-time applicants for the July 2011 exam are:

• Drexel: 86.87 percent of 99 applicants;

• Duquesne: 82.20 percent of 191 applicants;

• Dickinson: 92.08 percent of 101 applicants;

• Pitt: 83.98 percent of 181 applicants;

• Rutgers-Camden: 82.84 percent of 134 applicants; and

• Widener-Delaware: 86.39 percent of 147 applicants.

Amaris Elliott-Engel: 215-557-2354 or .


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