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Results of July’s California Bar Exam Released

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The State Bar of California has released the results of the bar exam conducted in July, as well as two additional reports analyzing said results. The General Bar Exam is administered in the months of February and July each year in California. 

The exam consists of three sections: 

  1. A multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination
  2. Five essay questions
  3. One performance test intended to assess an applicant’s ability to apply their newfound legal knowledge to practical tasks

The written portion of the exam (which includes the essays and performance test) and the multiple-choice portion are weighed equally in the cumulative test score. 

The Examination for current attorneys includes the essay and performance test sections of the General Bar Exam. Said examination is open to attorneys who have previously been admitted to the active practice of law and have maintained good standing for at least four years in an outside U.S. jurisdiction. Of the 442 attorneys who completed the Attorneys’ Examination, 51.1% passed, representing 226 individuals. 

In terms of the results of the General Bar Exam, 50.1% of applicants passed, representing a total of 3,886 individuals. The results were an increase from those recorded in 2017, a trend that seems to have been experienced by many states nationwide. 

Statistics supporting that trend were released, and include:

  • Florida and New Jersey each saw an increase of 7 percentage points in overall pass rate.
  • Texas confirmed a pass rate increase of 4.6 percentage points.
  • The National Conference of Bar Examiners reported that the pass rate for the Multistate Bar Examination increased by 1.6 percentage points across the nation. That figure represents the largest annual increase in over 10 years.
  • The Law School Admission Council reported that national LSAT data for likely July 2019 participants from ABA law schools indicated a significant increase from the prior year, most notably at the high end of the score range.

Additionally, specific statistics from the July General Bar Exam were released, which indicated:

  • The mean scaled Multistate Bar Examination score on the July 2019 Bar Exam was 1428. The national average was 1411.
  • 7,764 applicants completed the exam.
  • 4,938 (63.6%) were first-time applicants.
  • The pass rate for first-time applicants was 64.0% overall.
  • 2,826 of applicants were repeating the exam.
  • The pass rate for repeat applicants was 26.0% overall.

The initial results that were released will be followed by a pass list from the exam to be published on the State Bar’s website on the morning of November 17. More detailed statistics regarding examination results will be available on the State Bar’s website in roughly 4-6 weeks.

Provided that those who passed satisfy all other necessary requirements for admission, they will be deemed eligible to be licensed by the State Bar, and to practice law in California. Successful applicants who have satisfied all other requirements for admission are eligible to take the Attorney’s Oath individually, or participate in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state next month.

Once applicants have taken the Attorney Oath, they must submit their oath card to the State Bar. From that point they are officially eligible to practice law in California. Approximately two weeks after forwarding their oath card to the State Bar, the names of the successful applicants will appear on the State Bar registry of licensed attorneys featured on the State Bar’s website.