Tulare County teen passes California bar exam at 17, youngest ever

A 17-year-old from Tulare County became the youngest person in history to pass the California bar exam, officials said this week.

Peter Park, who has since turned 18 and now works as a law clerk at the Tulare County district attorney's office, passed the exam on his first try, the district attorney's office announced in a news release. Park took the exam in July and got his results on Nov. 9. The previous record holder was 18 years old.

In 2019, Park started high school at Oxford Academy in Cypress at the age of 13, officials said. He also enrolled in a four-year law program at Northwestern California University School of Law under a state bar rule that allows students to apply to law school once they complete the College Level Examination Program, or CLEP.

Park took the California High School Proficiency Exam and graduated from high school in 2021; he then graduated from law school in 2023. He became a law clerk with the district attorney's office in August.

“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.

Park said that he aspires to be a prosecutor because he's driven "by a moral obligation to uphold liberty, equality and justice in society."

He was sworn in on Tuesday in Visalia as one of the youngest practicing attorneys in the state. He turned 18 in late November.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.