A teenager from California’s Central Valley has become the youngest person to ever pass the state’s bar exam and is now working as a practicing attorney.
The Tulare county district attorney’s office announced this week that Peter Park learned last month at 17 that he had passed the “rigorous exam” on his first attempt in what officials described as a “legal history making moment”. Park has been a law clerk with the office since August after completing law school.
The teen started high school in 2019 at age 13 and at the same time enrolled in a four-year law program at Northwestern California University School of Law. He was able to enroll due to a state bar rule allowing students to apply to law school after completing the College Level Proficiency Exams.
Park completed his high school studies in 2021 and then focused on law school and graduated in 2023, the DA’s office said. He took the bar exam in July and then went to work for the district attorney’s office.
Last month, he received the results of his exam and learned he had broken a record. Before Park, the youngest person to pass the state bar was 18 years old.
“It was not easy, but it was worth it. It required discipline and strategy to pass the bar, and I made it in the end. I am extremely blessed to have discovered this path, and my hope is that more people will realize that alternative paths exist to becoming an attorney,” Park said in a press release.
Park, who turned turned 18 in late November, was sworn in on Tuesday as one of the state’s youngest practicing attorneys, the DA’s office said.
California’s bar exam is widely considered particularly challenging. In July 2023, 51.5% of the 7,555 people who took the exam passed.