Bar passage rate in Korea at less than 5% must restrict number of in-house lawyers and warp benchmarks

According to Researching Law, Spring 2010 at 9, “Until very recently, the bar passage rate in South Korea has been extremely low – even less than 5% — so that studying law in South Korea in preparation for a legal career was an extremely risky path for young people to take.” I should say!

If that few takers pass the bar, the legal departments of Korean companies must be much more sparsely populated with admitted lawyers than would be predicted by global benchmark metrics of lawyers per billion. In Korea, that ubiquitous metric loses significance if the definition of lawyer means “someone who has studied law and passed a bar examination” (See my post of Feb. 25, 2009: lawyers per billion with 22 references and one metapost.).

Other common benchmarks surrender all usefulness if the number of lawyers qua lawyers shrinks as much as it must in South Korea. Benchmark studies may need a broader definition of “lawyer” or some way to adjust for such low numbers of officially recognized legal counselors.

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