Please note the following message from the NCBE regarding the July 2022 UBE exam, and regarding the MBE on the July 2022 Cal Bar Exam:
JUN 24, 2022
NCBE Statement on SCOTUS Decisions
Examinees taking the NCBE-developed July 2022 MBE, MPT, and MEE will not be required to be familiar with this term’s US Supreme Court decisions.
If you’re taking the Cal Bar, please know that the Cal Bar approved the questions for this exam in late April, even prior to the leak of the draft decision in Dobbs. You could see an abortion issue in a Cal Bar Con Law essay. Unlikely, but possible. If you see this come up, mention that it was a fundamental right before June 24, and subject to rational basis review afterwards. Maybe you get a bonus point as a result.
Only the following items are allowed in the exam areas without prior approval. All items are subject to inspection at the test centers: 1. Government-issued ID 2. The admittance ticket with no writing on it 3. Silent analog watches 4. Prescription medications (does not include cough drops) 5. Cash (must not have extraneous writing on it) 6. Credit/debit cards that might be needed for the lunch breaks 7. Keys 8. Face masks without valves (with no patterns or extraneous writing on them) 9. Protective gloves (latex or rubber only) 10. Nondigital pens (standard blue or black ink), nonmechanical pencils (with eraser incorporated; no separate erasers), pen-style highlighters (must not be used on answers), rulers and paper clips 11. Nondigital timers and nondigital clocks measuring 4”x 4” or smaller. 12. Eyeglasses (no cases or sunglasses) 13. Foam earplugs (cannot be wireless and must not be connected to any mechanism or device) 14. Menstrual products 15. Inhalers 16. Diabetes-related items and equipment (does not include food or drinks) 17. Eyedrops in single-use vials 18. One back support (without a cover) 19. One orthopedic cushion (without a cover) 20. One standard-size pillow (without a case) 21. One bookstand 22. One footrest 23. Splints, braces, casts, crutches, wheelchair 24. Hearing aids 25. TENS units 26. Disability-related items that have been approved through the testing accommodations petition process 27. Separate keyboard, mouse (wired or wireless), laptop riser/stand no higher than 4 inches and a solid color mouse pad with no writing on it. During the MBE sessions, the items listed above are allowed in the exam room, except pens, highlighters, back supports, orthopedic cushions, pillows, bookstands or footrests, and laptops or laptop accessories. If you need any of these items due to a disability, you must request them through the timely filing of a Testing Accommodations Petition. 3 Applicants who will be handwriting their exam answers, or who are required to handwrite in the event of a laptop/software malfunction, must bring their own standard blue or black ink ballpoint pens. Applicants must also bring their own pencils for the MBE portion of the exam (several sharpened pencils are recommended). Mechanical pencils are not permitted. Pencil sharpeners and separate erasers will not be allowed into the exam room. Please note that applicants cannot bring wallets, tissues, lip balm, cough drops/throat lozenges, gum, candy, or other food or drinks in the exam room. Water and tissues will be available nearby at the test centers.
This morning, the FAQ document for the July 2022 exam was removed and in its place shows the following. It is the Clear Health Pass App and mask mandatory information… copied/pasted from the February 2022 exam. Yup, including the dates (as in, January/February 2022 – see below).
This APPEARS to indicate that you will need to download the Clear Health Pass app and that masks are mandatory for July 2022. But let’s wait until the dates are updated to see how official this is.
The State Bar recognizes that this is a difficult time for test takers and is doing everything it can—following state and national public health guidelines and taking additional precautions—to provide a safe and secure testing environment.
Below are measures being taken at alltesting locationsto prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Regardless of test center size, all applicants most provide proof of full vaccination or a negative test at check-in via the CLEAR Health Pass app. Applicants who fail to do so will be denied entry to the exam and will not receive a refund of fees.
Full vaccination refers to a complete regimen (two dose or single dose, depending on the vaccine) of avaccine authorized by the CDC. Vaccination must be completed by February 8, two weeks before the first day of the exam.
A negative test may be a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken within 48 hours of the start time for the first day of the exam or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of the exam’s first day start time. All tests must be performed at a test provider or laboratory. At-home tests are not accepted.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms when they arrive will not be seated for the exam. They will withdraw and need to provide documentation to receive arefund.
If someone exhibits symptoms at the exam, State Bar staff may direct them to terminate their exam and leave the testing site.
Everyone at the testing site must follow safety protocols such as physical distancing in common areas and wearing a KN95/N95 mask or double masking.
All test-takers must read and sign aCOVID-19 Code of Conduct formby February 17. The Office of Admissions emailed the forms on February 4. For security, everyone received a unique link to their form. Applicants who do not sign the form by February 17 will not be able to sit for the exam.
Applicants providing proof of vaccination should download the app and complete the one-time enrollment process by January 25. Make sure to enroll using the email address associated with your State Bar application.
The day before the exam, you will need to open the app and link again to the bar exam code–EFATTENDEE200.
Everyone at the testing site will be required to bring and wear either their own N95/KN95 mask or a 2-ply cloth mask along with a surgical mask. If you come to the test center with just a cloth mask, you will be provided with a surgical mask to wear under the cloth mask for double masking.
Your face mask must cover your nose and mouth and meet CDC guidelines the entire time you are at a testing site.
The only exceptions to wearing a mask are (1) if you are asked to remove your mask by a proctor for identification purposes, (2) if you are more than six feet away from any other person and engaged in the act of eating or drinking, or (3) if you are inside a fully enclosed vehicle.
Masks brought into the secured testing area shall not contain writing of any kind and will be subject to inspection by State Bar personnel.
Graduation season has already begun. I’ve heard from students who got COVID during this time. And graduation season will continue for elementary school, middle school, high school, and undergrad levels, and even some law schools will have graduations. And mask wearing will be spotty at best.
We’ve had Memorial Day – mask wearing isn’t at an all-time high.
Father’s Day? I don’t know how many mass celebrations will be happening then.
But then, of course… July 4 – bad news for COVID positivity rates.
So the big question for Cal Bar Exam applicants: will applicants be required to wear masks on July 26-27? Sure seems like it.
UCLA and Cal Poly SLO have already reinstituted mask mandates.
Alameda County (home to the Oakland Cal Bar Exam testing site) reinstituted an indoor mask mandate on Thursday, June 2. Per the San Francisco Chronicle:
On Thursday, Alameda County broke ranks by once again implementing an indoor mask mandate “to limit the impact of increasing COVID-19 cases on hospitalizations.” The mandate, which takes effect June 3, applies to most indoor settings, save K-12 schools and the city of Berkeley, which sets its own health protocols. The state lifted its school mask mandate earlier this year.
Indoor mask mandate. Not indoor mask mandate for events with more than 500 people. Indoor mask mandate.
There’s more. Note what the Los Angeles Times said on June 2:
With coronavirus-positive hospitalizations in Los Angeles County continuing to rise, officials said the nation’s most populous county could be poised to see a new universal indoor mask mandate later this month if the upward trends continue.
“Our weekly case rate and the rate of increase in hospital admissions are of concern,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday. “If we continue on the current trajectory … we’re likely to move into the CDC high [COVID-19] community level within a few weeks towards the end of June, indicating increased stress on the healthcare system.”
L.A. County health officials have already said once the county enters the high COVID-19 community level, that will trigger a local requirement to wear masks in indoor public settings.
Also note that several counties with Cal Bar Exam sites are already in the high community level:
Nearly 1 in 6 Californians live in a county with a high COVID-19 community level. The affected counties are Santa Clara, Sonoma, Solano, Marin and Napa in the San Francisco Bay Area; Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado in the Sacramento Valley area; and Monterey, Mendocino, San Benito and Del Norte counties elsewhere in Northern California.
As you are aware, Santa Clara and Sacramento counties have Cal Bar Exam sites. San Diego and Orange County are already in the middle community level.
The Cal Bar has not updated its FAQ document (originally issued April 14).
The current momentum of this crisis strongly suggests that at least one county with a Bar Exam site will require masks on exam day. Things could change, of course. But you don’t know that. And I don’t either.
So what to do? Simple. Assume that masks are required on exam day. Wear a mask, EVERY SINGLE DAY, SEVEN DAYS PER WEEK, for 3- to 3-1/2 hours every day. EVERY DAY, until the Cal Bar guarantees that you won’t have to wear a mask on exam day.
So, if the Cal Bar says on July 15 that you don’t have to wear a mask on exam day, you can laugh while taking off your mask. But if you hear on July 15, July 20, even July 25 that you have to wear a mask on exam day. How will you prepare for that? You can’t. Unless you start wearing masks. NOW.
The Cal Bar posted results for the February 2022 exam at 6 pm tonight. The pass rate was 33.9% overall. This represents a drop of 8.9% from February 2021’s 37.2% pass rate. How February 2021 impacts things given that this was the exam right after the COVID-delayed October 2020 exam and less time to prep for February 2021 is unclear.
Considering February 2016-February 2020 pass rates, 33.9 is relatively normal for a February exam because those pass rates were 35.7, 34.5, 27.3, 31.4, and 26.8. Today’s 33.9% fits neatly within that context.
The MBE score nationwide is worth considering from this exam. The Cal Bar reports that the national average on the MBE dropped to 132.6, the lowest score all-time. That could explain the lower overall pass rate for this exam. It could also explain the 61.8% attorney exam pass rate, highest in 19 years!
At least 12 other states reported lower pass rates for February 2022, according to the Cal Bar. Repeater pass rate was 24.0%.
Full press release appears below.
If you find that you need tutoring, please reach out ASAP as I only have a few spaces remaining.
State Bar of California Releases Results of February 2022 Bar Exam
Today the State Bar announced that 1,056 people (33.9 percent of applicants) passed the February 2022 California General Bar Exam—the first in-person exam since February 2020. If those who passed satisfy all other requirements for admission, they will be eligible to be licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California.
“This is a day of pure joy for the 1,056 applicants who passed the General Bar Exam, and their families, as well as the 209 candidates who passed the Attorney’s Exam,” said Leah Wilson, State Bar Executive Director. “We congratulate all those who successfully passed the exam and look forward to welcoming them to California’s legal profession very soon.”
This year’s 33.9 percent pass rate on the General Bar Exam was a drop of nearly 8.9 percent from the February 2021 pass rate of 37.2 percent, but higher than the February 2020 pass rate of 26.8 percent.
Nationally, at least a dozen other states saw their February 2022 pass rates drop from the previous year, including
New York (45 percent compared to 49 percent in 2021),
Florida (44 percent compared to 47 percent in 2021),
North Carolina (50 percent compared to 60 percent in 2021), and
Pennsylvania (37 percent compared to 51 percent in 2021).
The national average score on the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) dropped to 132.6—the lowest all-time score—matching the low reached on the 2020 February exam.
Attendance at California’s February 2022 General Bar Exam was slightly higher (3,113) than during the remotely administered February 2021 exam (3,098) but still low compared to past years, when 4,000 to 5,000 typically took the exam.
February 2022 General Bar Exam preliminary statistics
Completed the General Bar Exam: 3,113 applicants
First-time applicants: 1,090 (35.0 percent of total)
Pass rate for first-time applicants: 53.0 percent overall
Repeat applicants: 2,023 (64.9 percent of total)
Pass rate for repeat applicants: 24.0 percent overall
Pass rate for the General Bar Exam (rounded to whole numbers) by law school type:
The Attorneys’ Examination is open to those 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, as well as disciplined lawyers who are ordered to take the examination as a condition of reinstatement. Of the 338 attorneys who completed the Attorneys’ Examination, 209 (61.8 percent) passed.
Successful applicants who satisfy all requirements for admission may take the Attorney’s Oath individually or participate in admissions ceremonies held by their law school or others. Applicants are eligible to practice law in California after taking the Attorney’s Oath and submitting their oath card to the State Bar. Once again, the State Bar is enabling digital signing and electronic processing of oath cards.
Remember, these people ARE NOT JOKING. If you don’t register for the exam by June 1, welcome to February 2023.
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The Cal Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners had its monthly meeting on Friday/Saturday of last week and one of its closed session items was to talk about contingency planning for the Feb. 2022 exam. While no announcements have been made about a final plan for in-person v. remote exam, the Cal Bar’s Twitter feed may have provided an answer. At 12:46 pm today, the Cal Bar announced that it was hiring proctors. I’m guessing that doesn’t happen if we have a remote exam. We shall see. Announcement below:
State Bar of California
Do you want to help administer the #CAbarexam? Apply to proctor the Feb 22 & 23 exam. Proctors play a key role in the success of the exam by ensuring established policies & procedures are followed. Starting pay is $25.00/hr. Learn more and apply: http://ow.ly/fHfW50HrZ75
I strongly recommend that the Committee continue the front-facing comments it’s provided to everyone throughout this process: in person testing, Feb. 22-23 exam date.
Mercifully, it appears that the Omicron variant is retreating/plateauing/cresting. The LA Times indicated as much in an article on January 19. But in today’s LA Times, we have an even STRONGER indication of such a pattern in the location centers of Bar Exam testing. As noted in today’s article:
The improvement is most pronounced in places like Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area, where health officials have voiced increased confidence in recent days that the coronavirus test positivity rate, as well as daily new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, have either stabilized or begun to convincingly decline.
“This downward trend is encouraging, and it signals that we’re likely to have passed the peak of Omicron transmission and are beginning to see a real decline in the number of newly infected individuals,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
Candidly, any positive comment from LA County Public Health Director Ferrer is GREAT news for the status quo argument of Feb. 22-23 exam testing. If LA County had an overwhelming Omicron problem, she’d put up the red flag, and if LA County forces LA testing for the Cal Bar to go remote, then the whole state would.
More evidence from the article of a receding trend:
California’s Omicron surge appears to have peaked in the week of Jan. 10-16, when the state was recording about 122,000 new coronavirus cases a day. That figure has since dropped to 96,000 cases a day, according to state data released Tuesday that reflects cases reported through Monday.
Here’s the most compelling evidence we need:
Compared with their Omicron peaks, daily coronavirus case rates have dropped by 39% in L.A. County, 33% in Orange County, 25% in San Bernardino County and 21% in Ventura County, according to a Times analysis of state data released Tuesday.
Regionally, Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Greater Sacramento area have also observed declines of 25% to 28%.
“We are past the peak,” said Cody, the Santa Clara County health officer. “And we’re just beginning to see early signs that that our hospitals may be seeing a little bit of a reprieve.”
So let’s be clear: from this article, LA County is down 39%, Bay Area is down 25%, and Sacramento is down 28%. The article mentions San Diego, the fourth site, and says:
Yet the San Joaquin Valley and rural Northern California have yet to begin a persistent drop. In Southern California, San Diego and Riverside counties have also yet to observe the same.
No, San Diego hasn’t gone down 25-39%, but it hasn’t increased, either. So if 3 sites are down 25-39%, and one is unchanged/has a much less drop, none of that is evidence that there’s going to be a massive flareup in four weeks.
My sincere hope is that the Cal Bar internalizes this data and decides this weekend that there’s nothing to see here, and no reason to go remote. The consequences of going remote are severe: candidates are rumored to need several weeks to find locations to take the test that aren’t at home (due to too many people/animals at home to take the test in a quiet, solitary setting or internet reliability is a problem), plus the NCBE extorted all jurisdictions by saying that due to the spat with Examsoft, MBEs will be available in “late March” (March 23 or 30, probably). That means exam administration is delayed a month, that means grading gets pushed back, and that means results get pushed back to June, and that crimps the study schedules for those who fail the February exam.
Let’s NOT go there, Cal Bar and Cal Supreme Court. The Omicron is receding. Let’s mask up, be vaccinated or prove negative, and let’s get this exam in.
Finally, a note from our friends in Washington: a recently published “Exam Health Safety Plan for COVID-19”: in-person exam, while taking proper precautions.
According to the ABA Journal, the 1st, 2d, 5th, 7th, and Federal Circuits are conducting oral arguments by Zoom or teleconference.
The ABA Journal also reports:
The Northern District of California said it would delay all criminal and civil jury trials through Jan. 26, impacting proceedings at its courthouses in San Francisco; Oakland, California; and San Jose, California.
The Central District of California announced that it would delay all civil and criminal trials for three weeks through Jan. 24.
“Given the increased rate of transmission of COVID-19 in the Central District of California due to the omicron variant, conducting jury trials would place court personnel, attorneys, parties and prospective jurors at undue risk,” the court’s statement said. “Accordingly, a temporary suspension of jury trials is necessary to protect public health and safety, as well as ensure the continuous performance of essential functions and operations of the court.”
The federal court in Connecticut announced Monday that it will delay trials set to begin before Feb. 1. The court’sordercited the risks of seating jurors close to each other and the “reduced ability to obtain an adequate spectrum of prospective jurors due to the public’s perceptions of the risks associated with jury service.”
ReutersreportedTuesday that an increasing number of federal courts are delaying trials, including in Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Maryland. State courts in Ohio, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland and Hawaii had also announced delays.
In some jurisdictions, trials are still going ahead. In New York, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore of the New York State Court of Appealssaidin-person proceedings will continue, but the state courts will be “monitoring the metrics very closely, assessing the situation in each courthouse and staying ready to pivot quickly to make any and all appropriate adjustments necessary to respond to problem areas or new public health guidance.”