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California Bar Examination Results - July 2017

From the Cal Bar:

Today the State Bar of California released the results of the July 2017 California Bar Exam, and announced that 4,236 people (49.6 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam. If those applicants satisfy all other requirements for admission, they will be eligible to be licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California.

“Congratulations to over 4,000 applicants who passed the California Bar Exam. We’re pleased to see an increase in the overall passage rate to 49 percent, up from a 43 percent passage rate for the July 2016 exam. We look forward to studying the factors that may have resulted in the increase,” said Leah Wilson, Executive Director of the State Bar of California.

Preliminary statistical analyses from the July 2017 General Bar Exam:

  • 8,545 applicants completed the exam
  • 5,397 (63.2 percent) were first-time applicants
  • The passing rate for first-time applicants was 62 percent overall
  • 3,148 applicants were repeat applicants
  • The passing rate for repeat applicants was 28 percent overall

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

School Type First-Timers Repeaters
California ABA 70% 37%
Out-of-State ABA 67% 28%
California Accredited (but not ABA) 33% 19%
Unaccredited: Fixed-Facility 29% 14%
Unaccredited: Correspondence 25% 22%
Unaccredited Distance Learning 25% 17%

The General Bar Exam is given in February and July each year. The July 2017 exam was the first time the exam was administered in a two-day format.

The exam consists of three sections: a multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), five essay questions and one performance test that are designed to assess an applicant’s ability to apply legal knowledge to practical tests. The written portion of the exam (essay and performance test questions) and the MBE were weighted equally. The mean scaled MBE score on the July 2017 General Bar Exam in California was 1432; the national average was 1417.

The applicants not included in the above totals were attorneys admitted in other states who either chose or were required to take the General Bar Exam, attorneys admitted in foreign jurisdictions, law students in the Law Office / Judge’s Chambers Study Program or law students who qualified to take the exam through four years of law study.

The Attorneys’ Examination consists of the essay and performance test sections of the General Bar Exam and is open to attorneys 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 571 attorneys who completed the Attorneys’ Examination, 215 (37.7 percent) passed. Twenty-six were disciplined attorneys who took the exam as a condition of reinstatement; four disciplined attorneys passed.

A pass list from the exam will be published on the State Bar’s website at 6 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. More detailed statistics about examination results will be available in approximately three weeks and on the State Bar website:

Successful applicants who satisfy all other requirements for admission may take the Attorney’s Oath individually or participate in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state in December 2017.

After applicants have taken the Attorney’s Oath, they are eligible to practice law in California. Approximately two weeks after forwarding the oath card to the State Bar, their names will appear on the State Bar website via the attorney search.


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