Today the State Bar released results of the February 2020 California Bar Exam and announced that 1,128 people (26.8 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam. 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.
“We heartily congratulate the 1,128 applicants who passed the General Bar Exam and the 163 candidates who passed the Attorney’s Exam. We hope to welcome all of them to California’s legal profession very soon,” said Donna Hershkowitz, Interim Executive Director of the State Bar. “Meanwhile, we are moving forward on both near-term and long-term efforts that will affect the future of the bar exam. On Monday, we will submit to the California Supreme Court a work plan addressing how we intend to administer the next exam in September. For the long term, the State Bar has recently completed several studies that we hope will contribute meaningfully to informed discussion around a future direction for the California bar exam.”
At its meeting on May 14, the State Bar Board of Trustees will review the agency’s most recent bar exam studies and consider recommendations for next steps on the future of the exam. The mean scaled Multistate Bar Examination score on the February 2020 bar exam in California was 1357, down from 1370 last year. The national mean score was 1326, down from the previous year’s mean of 1328 and an all-time low.
February 2020 General Bar Exam preliminary statistics
Completed the exam: 4,205 applicants
First-time applicants: 1,192 (28.3 percent of total)
Pass rate for first-time applicants: 38.0 percent overall
Repeat applicants: 3,013 (71.6 percent of total)
Pass rate for repeat applicants: 22.0 percent overall
Pass rate (rounded to whole numbers) by law school type:
School Type First-Timers Repeaters
California ABA 42% 30%
Out-of-State ABA 45% 22%
California Accredited (not ABA) 17% 10%
Unaccredited: Fixed-Facility 0% 8%
Unaccredited: Correspondence 14% 11%
Unaccredited Distance-Learning 16% 9%
All Others 41% 20%
All Applicants 38% 22%
Here is general information about the structure and content of the General Bar Exam.
The one-day 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. Of the 417 attorneys who completed the Attorneys’ Examination, 163 (39.1 percent) passed.
A pass list from the exam will be published on the State Bar website on May 10, 2020. More detailed statistics about exam results will be available in four to six weeks on the State Bar website.
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. Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, the State Bar’s Office of Admissions has had to cancel admissions ceremonies it typically offers throughout the state and has posted instructions for individuals to be sworn in remotely.
If they have satisfied all other requirements, applicants are eligible to practice law in California after they have taken the Attorney’s Oath and submitted their oath card to the State Bar. Approximately two weeks after forwarding the oath card to the State Bar, their names will appear on the agency’s roll of licensed attorneys accessible on the State Bar website.