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Just over half of those who sat for February’s Georgia state bar examination passed — the lowest pass rate since July 1984. Only 55.1 percent passed, or 263 of the 477 who took the exam. Hulett H. “Bucky” Askew, director of the Office of Bar Admissions, said the numbers may be lower because the total tested was smaller this year. In February 2001, 607 took the exam, and 362 — 59.6 percent — passed. In February 2000, 338, or 57.4 percent, of 588 passed. Fewer overall test-takers might mean fewer out-of-staters taking the exam, Askew said. Out-of-staters who have passed the bar in other jurisdictions usually bring up the pass rate. Of the 259 first-time test-takers, 193, or 74.5 percent passed. But of the 218 repeaters taking the February test, only 70, or 32.1 percent passed. For applicants from Emory University School of Law and the University of Georgia School of Law, the pass rates increased since last February’s exam. Of the 16 Emory Law grads who took the recent test, 14, or 87.5 percent, passed. Of the 11 first-times, 10, or 90.9 percent passed. In February 2001, 81.8 percent of Emory grads passed overall, and 90 percent of Emory first-timers passed. For UGA grads, the pass rate jumped to 76 percent overall from 63.6 percent last year. For UGA first-timers, 81.8 percent passed this year, compared to 80 percent last year. GSU, MERCER RATES FALL Overall pass rates for Georgia State University College of Law and Mercer University School of Law graduates dropped since February 2001. Last year, 63.1 percent of Mercer grads passed the February bar, but only 60 percent passed the 2002 test. All three first-timers passed in February 2002, compared to five out of six Mercer first-timers passing in February 2001. Of the 34 Georgia State grads taking the February test, 25, or 73.5 percent, passed, compared to 78.7 percent last year. Of the first-timers from GSU, 83.3 percent passed, compared to 85.2 percent in February 2001. John Marshall Law School, with 93 test-takers, had the highest number of applicants. Nineteen passed. The overall pass rate of 20.4 percent represents a slight drop from last year’s overall rate of 23.2 percent. Nine, or 45 percent, of the 20 John Marshall first-timers passed, up from 37.2 percent last year. John Marshall is not accredited by the American Bar Association. The February exams draw from a different pool than the July exam. February test-takers often include students who finished law school off-schedule, lawyers admitted to the bar in other states, and those who didn’t pass the bar on their previous tries. Fewer attorneys admitted outside Georgia took the most recent exam, and that could bring down the overall pass rate, Askew said. Last July, 146 lawyers admitted in another state took the exam. Of those, 131 or 89.7 percent passed. In February, 107 out-of-state attorneys sat for the Georgia Bar. Ninety, or 84.1 percent passed. MBE RATES CITED Askew said he knew the pass rate would be low when he saw Georgia’s Multistate Bar Exam, or MBE, results. The MBE is the multiple-choice portion of the Georgia test, and examinees need a score of at least 135 to pass it. Half of Georgia’s test-takers scored below 135, Askew said. “It’s the MBE that is really so important,” he added. “They did poorly on this MBE.” Out-of-staters don’t have to take the MBE if they’ve scored a 135 or above before. Askew usually hears from test-takers that the MBE is difficult, and he said he heard that again after the February test. “I’m never surprised when I hear that,” he added. Related item: February 2002 Georgia Bar Exam Results

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