State Bar of California Releases Results of February 2022 Bar Exam

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The State Bar of California in May released the pass rate for the 2022 State Bar Exam - the first conducted in person since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic - with 1,056 applicants passing, or around 34%.

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 at the time of the announcement last month. “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% pass rate on the General Bar Exam was a drop of nearly 9% from the February 2021 pass rate of 37%, but higher than the February 2020 pass rate of 27%.

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

• New York (45% compared to 49% in 2021)

• Florida (44% compared to 47% in 2021)

• North Carolina (50% compared to 60% in 2021)

• Pennsylvania (37% compared to 51% 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 February 2020 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.

Some February 2022 General Bar Exam preliminary statistics:

• Completed the General Bar Exam: 3,113 applicants

• First-time applicants: 1,090 (35.0% of total)

• Pass rate for first-time applicants: 53.0% overall

• Repeat applicants: 2,023 (64.9% of total)

• Pass rate for repeat applicants: 24.0% overall Pass rate for the General Bar Exam (rounded to whole numbers) by law school type:

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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%) passed.

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, this year the State Bar is enabling digital signing and electronic processing of oath cards.