I always kinda wryly chuckle when someone, generally a non-lawyer or someone's mom etc., attempts to illustrate how smart some lawyer (or their kid, etc.) is by saying they "passed the bar on the first try." Where I come from, that's merely what you're Supposed to do. Anything less signifies "Baby's Got a Problem"-time. Not that I haven't known people who had to retake it and even people who lost their day jobs for two flunks in a row, but these are the eggzceptions rather than the rule. I don't think the bar is a great gauge of any sort of brain power except maybe Ability to Cram for a Bar, which is an art form in and of itself wholly separate from what goes on in law skewel, but I do kind of wonder where all these people are coming from who don't pass.