Idaho's pass rate for bar exams plummets

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Fewer Idaho lawyers participated and passed this year's most recent bar exam.

The Idaho Statesman ( ) reports that roughly 65 percent of the 126 test-takers passed the July exam. The pass rate is the lowest since 2002. However, the number of test-takers is just slightly lower than in years past.

Idaho is one seven states whose July bar exam scores dropped. The plummeting scores prompted deans of several law schools, including the University of Idaho College of Law, to send a letter to the National Conference of Bar Examiners calling for an investigation of the scoring of the July test.

July's exam is the first opportunity most law school graduates have to take the test. Passing the test is required to practice law in Idaho. On average, more than 75 percent of graduates take the test. Those who fail in July can retake it in February, which averages a pass rate of about 71 percent.

Idaho State Bar officials say the system that Idaho used for its bar exam crashed in July. It did not affect anyone's answers on the test, but it did delay when the answers were submitted.

"While it was lower than the previous July pass rate, it's not unprecedented, and it's not a total abnormality being under 70 percent," said Maureen Ryan Braley, director of admissions for the Idaho State Bar. "In Idaho, when we give the bar exam to so few applicants ... it really takes a small number of applicants to create what appear to be drastic swings in our pass rate."


Information from: Idaho Statesman,

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