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For most of the 234 bar applicants who failed Georgia’s July exam, there’s no need to pack up the office yet. A sampling of law firms contacted say they would offer employees a second chance at the test. Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy has given its few lawyers who failed a second chance. David G. Ross, PoGo’s professional development and recruiting partner, says only one or two lawyers have failed in his 24 years with the firm. “We said, ‘Take it again,’ ” Ross says, “ We just kind of hold their hands and we collectively hold our breaths the second time.” The lawyers who failed at first passed the second time, Ross adds. Philip J. Marzetti, managing partner of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker’s Atlanta office, says employees who fail the bar are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There’s no formal policy to address bar failures, he says, but as a practical matter, everyone would probably get a second shot at the test. Marzetti says he knows of one instance of a Paul Hastings employee failing a bar exam after passing the test in another jurisdiction. The firm determined that the employee had taken the second bar without adequate preparation. They allowed the employee to try again, Marzetti says. A second failure may merit reconsideration of employment, Marzetti says, and the firm might suggest the employee move elsewhere if he or she fails the bar twice. But, Marzetti says, “We’ve never had to face that situation, so I don’t know.” Sutherland Asbill & Brennan’s managing partner, James L. Henderson III, says he can’t remember dealing with the issue of an employee failing the bar. But he’s sure the firm would give the employee a second chance to take the bar, he adds, if it were ever to happen. DA’S POLICY ON PASSING BAR At the Fulton County District Attorney’s office, bar exam failures also are evaluated on an individual basis. Spokesman Erik Friedly says admission to the bar is a condition to employment, but there’s still hope for those who fail. The DA allots a certain amount of time to each employee to pass the bar. If the employee doesn’t pass within that time period, Friedly says, then they may be let go. In the meantime, people who fail the bar can work as legal assistants. At Littler Mendelson’s 19-lawyer Atlanta office, no associate ever has failed the bar. But local office managing partner Cameron S. Pierce says an employee probably would be given a second chance to take the bar if he or she failed. The firm would evaluate each situation on a case-by-case basis, he says. Sherri M. Knight, director of professional recruiting for Smith Gambrell & Russell, says no SG&R associate has failed the bar in her 15 years with the firm. But if someone did fail, Knight says, they’d evaluate the situation on an individual basis. Some employees would be given a second chance, Knight says. Martha C. Perrin, executive partner at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, says no Ogletree lawyer ever has failed the bar exam. But she thinks the firm would give a second chance to someone who fails the bar exam. “But for the grace of God,” she adds, “Any of us could have that happen to us.” PROBLEMS DOWN THE ROAD But despite getting a second chance at passing the bar, lawyers at big firms might have a lesser likelihood of making partner. Paul M. Talmadge Jr., president of The Partners Group, a legal recruitment firm, says he knows of one case in which a lawyer who failed the bar did not make partner at his firm. But Talmadge also notes very few big firm lawyers ever fail the bar. David W. Tooker, managing director of the Kelly Law Registry, another legal recruiting firm, says circumstances of failing the bar exam vary. As a lateral attorney, Tooker says, a person who fails the bar might not get the same kind of experience as someone who is licensed to practice law. That can set a lateral back six months or however long it takes the person to pass the exam.
Complete list of successful candidates Related chart See results for other states

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