On May 7 the State Bar released results of the February 2021 California Bar Exam and announced that 1,151 people (37.2 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam. This pass rate represents an increase of 10.4 percentage points, or nearly 39 percent, from the February 2020 General Bar Exam pass rate of 26.8 percent. If those who passed the exam 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 1,151 applicants who passed the General Bar Exam and the 247 candidates who passed the Attorneys’ Exam, particularly after facing and overcoming the many challenges of 2020. We hope to welcome all those who passed to California’s legal profession very soon,” said Donna Hershkowitz, Interim Executive Director of the State Bar.
This year’s February exam was the second administered remotely, after the near-record cohort who took the exam in October. It was also the second graded under the reduced cut score of 1390, directed by the California Supreme Court in July 2020. If the cut score had remained at 1440, approximately 734 General Bar Exam takers (23.7 percent) would have passed this examination.
The February exam cohort was smaller than typical for a February exam (approximately 3,100 compared to 4,000–5,000 on average), likely attributable to the increased number of test takers for the October 2020 exam cohort, the availability of the new provisional licensure program, and the higher pass rate on the October exam. As is typical, a majority of the February exam cohort were repeat takers, although at a lower percentage than average (approximately 60 percent compared to the typical 70 percent).
More information can be found on the State Bar’s website at this link.