California has long had a reputation for having one of the most difficult bar exams in the country. Now, with passage rates sagging, the state will make it easier to pass the test, which is required to be licensed as a practicing lawyer.
The California Supreme Court, the ultimate authority over the bar exam, has decided to change the way the certification score is set. The court has not yet decided where the threshold will be set, but the changes will take effect in January.
The move follows a sometimes furious debate in California legal circles over whether the state’s passing score, or “cut score” — 144 — was unrealistic.
Each state offers its own bar exam, but many are moving toward more uniform exams, especially in the multiple-choice portion. What differentiates states is where they set the line for passage. For years, California had set the threshold for passing the exam higher than any other state but Delaware.