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In keeping a pattern since 1996, pass rates from the February 2001 Georgia bar exams reflect little variation from last year. Students from Georgia schools with the two highest pass rates — Emory University School of Law and Georgia State University School of Law — chalked up pass rates 15-20 percentage points higher this year than those from the University of Georgia School of Law and Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law. And students from the state’s four American Bar Association-accredited schools showed pass rates about 40-60 percentage points higher than students from John Marshall School of Law, which is not accredited by the ABA. Hulett H. Askew, director of the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions, says the February exams draw from a different pool than the July exam. These applicants, he says, include students who finished off-schedule, lawyers admitted to the bar in other states, and test-takers who didn’t pass on their first try. However, the results show each school posting success rates similar to last year’s February exam. Emory leads Georgia law schools, with an 81.8 percent pass rate as 18 of its 22 test takers succeeded. For first-time takers of the bar, the results are higher — 90 percent. Both figures are up a few percentage points from last year. Emory’s dean, Howard O. “Woody” Hunter, says the results are nice, but it’s unwise to generalize much from the results of a test taken by only 22 of his school’s graduates. Last July, 122 from Emory took the exam. In contrast, 47 graduates of Georgia State’s law school took the February exam. Associate Dean Steven J. Kaminshine says the nature of GSU’s program results in more February test-takers. The school, which offers a part-time program, had the second-highest pass rate for all takers — 78.7 percent, up from 75.5 percent in February 2000. Kaminshine says he thinks the results are “particularly impressive” because so many carried a full-time workload while attending law school. Of the 22 UGA graduates who took the exam, 14 passed for a 63.6 percent, up from last year’s 58.3 percent. At Mercer, 12 of 19 passed for a 63.1 percent rate, down from last year’s 73.3 percent. By far the school with the most February test-takers was John Marshall Law School, with 112 applicants. Of those, 23.2 percent passed the exam. Among first-time test takers, the pass rate was higher — 37.2 percent, up from 33.8 percent last year. Of the 607 students taking the February exam, 362 passed — 59.6 percent, up from 57.4 percent last year. Considerably more first-timers passed (73.6 percent) than repeaters (37.4 percent). Among first-time takers, graduates of Georgia law schools outperformed students from out-of-state law schools 85 percent to 77 percent.

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