Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Page 1


Passage Rate for July State Bar Exam Is 50.1 Percent


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Pass rate (rounded to whole numbers) by law school type:


School Type



California ABA



Out-of-State ABA



California Accredited (but not ABA)



Unaccredited: Fixed-Facility



Unaccredited: Correspondence



Unaccredited Distance Learning



All Others



All Applicants




The State Bar of California has announced that 50.1 percent of those taking the July bar exam—totaling 3,886 persons—passed, a contrast to the 40.7 percent passage rate on the July 2018 test.

Results were released Friday night.

The State Bar also made public two reports saying that the release to test-takers of the topics that would be on the essay portion of the exam did not affect the outcome.

Success on the part of 71 percent of the first-time test-takers who graduated from law schools in California accredited by the American Bar Association was reported, and 73 percent of the non-repeaters from ABA-approved schools outside the state. The lowest passage rates were those for repeaters who studied online—12 percent—and repeaters who took correspondence courses, 13 percent.

National Trend

The State Bar said in a statement that the “July 2019 pass rate rebound in California mirrors a national upward trend in scores,” noting that Florida and New Jersey each told of a 7 percent boost in the passage rate and Texas reported a 4.6 percent hike. It related that the National Conference of Bar Examiners reported a 1.6 percept increase nationally in scores on the multistate bar examination.

Release of the topics to be covered followed a blunder by a State Bar employee in providing that information, normally confidential, to 16 law school deans who would be monitoring the grading. The Research Solutions Group said at the outset of its report:

“The results of the following analyses indicated that the premature release of the content had no statistically significant impact on the results of the July 2019 examination.”

Second Opinion

A second outfit, ACS Ventures, reviewed The Research Solutions’ findings and echoed that  “the empirical evidence suggests that the early release of topics did not have a material impact on performance on the July 2019 California Bar Exam.”

The California Supreme Court commissioned its own report, released Nov. 13, which discloses that the justices were perturbed over the State Bar’s release of the topics to test-takers without consulting them.

Passage rates on the February exam are normally lower than on the July exam because there are more repeaters taking it. There was a passage rate of 31.4 percent on the February 2019 exam, up from 27.3 percent the year before.


Copyright 2019, Metropolitan News Company