Marin Independent Journal, by Gary Klein, Published December 1, 2019

The latest crop of lawyers to pass the state bar examination includes 25 participants from Marin.
The State Bar of California administers the test in February and July. It announces the results in May and November.
In the most recent round, seven who passed the test reported San Rafael addresses: Holly Graves, Randall Scarlett, Adrianna Siniawski, Joseph Attwell, Dayna Louie, Kyle McLorg and Anthony Augustyn. Augustyn is a former San Rafael police officer who now works for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

Six passers listed Sausalito addresses: Garrett Fitzgerald, Benjamin Gillig, Olivia Leary, Ethan Pawson, Tuan Tiet and Blake Walsh.

Four passers listed Mill Valley addresses: John Carvel, Nathan Dehnert, Sarah Lakhani and Melissa Levin. Four listed Novato addresses: Christine Chong, Adrienne Nichelini, Michael Podshadley and Jeremy Castro.
The other lawyers on the pass roster included Susan Smith of Tiburon, Richard Tan of Fairfax, Emrah Sumer of Larkspur and Thomas Tyson of Point Reyes.
The state bar reported that 3,886 lawyers passed the July exam, a pass rate of 50.1%. That was a nearly 10-point surge over the prior year, but in line with the July 2017 outcome.
The latest exam was marred by a blunder at the state bar: The organization inadvertently leaked the essay topics to representatives from 16 law schools just days before the test was administered. The bar issued an apology and, citing fairness, sent the same material to all the other test registrants.
The bar said its research showed that the decision to release the material did not distort the success rate.

“The State Bar did not take lightly the decision to release the essay and performance test topics to all test takers, and thus we are relieved by the findings of the psychometricians that statistical analysis demonstrated that the integrity of the examination was not impacted, that performance was as predicted based on historical data, and the passing rate was not affected,” said Alan Steinbrecher, chair of the bar board.
Nearly 64% of the people who passed the July test were taking it for the first time. By comparison, 55% of passers in July 2018 were first-timers.
The state bar, an arm of the California Supreme Court, is responsible for licensing lawyers, regulating the profession and enforcing ethics standards. The testers who pass the state bar exam are eligible to practice law after taking the attorney oath.
The state has more than 250,000 licensed lawyers.
For the July 2018 exam, 27 successful test-takers reported Marin addresses. For the February 2018 test, 18 passers listed Marin addresses.