Solo & Small Firm

State Bar of California Releases Results of February 2022 Bar Exam

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May 6, 2022

Today the State Bar announced that 1,056 people (33.9 percent of applicants) passed the February 2022 California General Bar Exam—the first in-person exam since February 2020. If those who passed satisfy all other requirements for admission, they will be eligible to be licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California.

“This is a day of pure joy for the 1,056 applicants who passed the General Bar Exam, and their families, as well as the 209 candidates who passed the Attorney’s Exam,” said Leah Wilson, State Bar Executive Director. “We congratulate all those who successfully passed the exam and look forward to welcoming them to California’s legal profession very soon.”

This year’s 33.9 percent pass rate on the General Bar Exam was a drop of nearly 8.9 percent from the February 2021 pass rate of 37.2 percent, but higher than the February 2020 pass rate of 26.8 percent.

Nationally, at least a dozen other states saw their February 2022 pass rates drop from the previous year, including

  • New York (45 percent compared to 49 percent in 2021),
  • Florida (44 percent compared to 47 percent in 2021),
  • North Carolina (50 percent compared to 60 percent in 2021), and
  • Pennsylvania (37 percent compared to 51 percent in 2021). 

The national average score on the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) dropped to 132.6—the lowest all-time score—matching the low reached on the 2020 February exam.

Attendance at California’s February 2022 General Bar Exam was slightly higher (3,113) than during the remotely administered February 2021 exam (3,098) but still low compared to past years, when 4,000 to 5,000 typically took the exam.

February 2022 General Bar Exam preliminary statistics

  • Completed the General Bar Exam: 3,113 applicants
  • First-time applicants: 1,090 (35.0 percent of total)
  • Pass rate for first-time applicants: 53.0 percent overall
  • Repeat applicants: 2,023 (64.9 percent of total)
  • Pass rate for repeat applicants: 24.0 percent overall

Pass rate for the General Bar Exam (rounded to whole numbers) by law school type:

School TypeFirst-TimersRepeaters
California ABA54%33%
Out-of-State ABA48%29%
California Accredited (not ABA)33%14%
Unaccredited: Fixed-Facility0%15%
Unaccredited: Correspondence46%12%
Unaccredited Distance-Learning25%6%
All Applicants53%24%

General information about the structure and content of the General Bar Exam.

The Attorneys’ Examination is open to those 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, as well as disciplined lawyers who are ordered to take the examination as a condition of reinstatement. Of the 338 attorneys who completed the Attorneys’ Examination, 209 (61.8 percent) passed.

pass list from the exam will be published on the State Bar website on May 8, 2022, at 6:00 a.m. More detailed statistics about exam results will be available in four to six weeks on the State Bar website.

Successful applicants who satisfy all requirements for admission may take the Attorney’s Oath individually or participate in admissions ceremonies held by their law school or others.  Applicants are eligible to practice law in California after taking the Attorney’s Oath and submitting their oath card to the State Bar. Once again, the State Bar is enabling digital signing and electronic processing of oath cards.

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