California about to get 1,532 new lawyers
May 15, 2017
• More than one out of three pass the Bar exam
• “The pass rate shows a continuing decline”
California is about to add 1,532 new lawyers. That’s how many passed the most recent California General Bar Exam, the State Bar of California says.
It represents a passing rate of 34.5 percent.
If those applicants satisfy all other requirements for admission, they will be eligible to be licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California. The February bar exam generally has a lower pass rate than July.
“Regrettably the pass rate shows a continuing decline, a trend happening nationally,” says Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, executive director of the State Bar of California.
The State Bar is undertaking a series of studies into the bar exam. The initial phase, which examines the cut score, begins on May 15.
Preliminary statistical analyses from the February 2017 General Bar Exam:
• 4,439 applicants completed the exam
• 1,153 (26.0 percent) were first-time applicants
• The passing rate for first-time applicants was 39.0 percent overall
• 3,286 applicants were repeat applicants
• The passing rate for repeat applicants was 33.0 percent overall
Passing rate (rounded to whole numbers and expressed as percentages) by law school type:
School Type First-Timers Repeaters
California ABA 45 46
Out-of-State ABA 39 34
California Accredited (but not ABA) 18 15
Unaccredited: Fixed-Facility 25 2
Unaccredited: Correspondence 26 11
Unaccredited Distance Learning 18 7
The General Bar Exam is given in February and July each year. The exam consists of three sections: a multiple choice Multistate Bar Examination, six essay questions, and two performance tests that are designed to assess an applicant’s ability to apply legal knowledge to practice tests. For the February 2017 administration of the examination, the mean scaled MBE score in California was 1379; the national average is 1341.
The applicants not included in the above totals were attorneys admitted in other states who either chose or were required to take the General Bar Exam, attorneys admitted in foreign jurisdictions, law students in the Law Office / Judge’s Chambers Study Program, or law students who qualified to take the exam through four years of law study.
The Attorneys’ Examination consists of the essay and performance test sections of the General Bar Exam and is open to attorneys who have been admitted to the active practice of law and are in good standing for at least four years in another U.S. jurisdiction. Of the 375 attorneys who completed the Attorneys’ Examination, 167 (44.5 percent) passed. Twenty-two were disciplined attorneys who took the exam as a condition of reinstatement; three disciplined attorneys passed.
Successful applicants who satisfy all other requirements for admission may take the Attorney’s Oath individually beginning May 22, or participate in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state in June.
Once applicants have met all admission requirements and taken the Attorney’s Oath they are licensed to practice law in California and their names will appear on the State Bar website via the attorney search.