Lowest February Bar Pass Rate Since 1951


Looks like California’s law students need to hit the books. According to an article posted by Cheryl Miller on The Recorder, a mere 27.3% of would-be lawyers passed California’s bar exam in February. Based on records dating back to 1951, this is the all-time lowest pass rate according to test data released this month.

The low scores reflect a national trend for the winter sitting of the exam. The average score on February’s multi-state bar exam fell 1.3 points from 2017’s scores to 132.8. This makes it the lowest average score in over a decade, and marks the fourth year in a row the month’s average score declined.

First-time test-takers of the February 2018 exam continued to do better than repeat test-takers with a 39% pass rate. Graduates of American Bar Association-approved law schools from California performed the best of any group, with 46% passing.

The State Bar leaves it up to the Supreme Court to decide on reducing the score on bar exam

A few days ago we posted a blog about the possibility of the California State Bar lowering the minimum passing score on the California Bar Exam.  Now it looks like they have shifted the decision to the California Supreme Court to handle.

The California State Bar committee, which includes deans from several law schools in the state, have offered the justices a range of choices on the topic from leaving the score as is – 144 – to lowering it to 139.

A Bar commissioned study came to the conclusion that the score could be lowered to 141 and still ensure that those who have passed will have the minimum standards of competency to practice law. This is still a hotly issued debate and the California Supreme Court has not made any comment on the topic.

Read the full story from The Recorder here.