Paul L. Caron

Monday, June 15, 2020

Only 5% Of Black First-Time Takers Passed February California Bar Exam, Compared To 52% Of Whites, 42% Of Asians, And 31% Of Hispanics

Following up on my previous post, February California Bar Exam Pass Rate Falls To All-Time Low: 26.8%:

General Statistics Report: February 2020 California Bar Examination:

CA Bar

CA Bar 2

The Recorder, How California Law Schools Fared on the February 2020 Bar Exam

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


Obviously the answer is to get rid of the bar exam (and not help blacks score better).

Posted by: Anon | Jun 15, 2020 6:01:19 PM


The July 2019 CA bar exam also show a racial pass gap, but much smaller than the February 2020 exam. For July 2019, the pass rate for white graduates from CA ABA Approved schools was 66.7% for first-time takers and 41.1% for repeat takers. For black graduates from CA ABA Approved schools, it was 50.0% and 24.5%.

Posted by: LSAP | Jun 15, 2020 10:16:58 AM

The problem is that some California law schools are admitting students with low indicators, then doing nothing to help these students. Educational research has demonstrated that schools can help struggling students by using better teaching methods. I have summarized this research in my books, How to Grow a Lawyer (2018) (for deans and law professors) and How to Succeed in Law School (2019) (for law students). Law schools can help minority students succeed if they use the right approach.

Posted by: Scott Fruehwald | Jun 15, 2020 9:19:01 AM

Surely, California can write a racially just exam.

Posted by: whsmith | Jun 15, 2020 9:17:33 AM

What was it last July?

Posted by: Anon | Jun 15, 2020 8:05:48 AM

Is this systemic racism?

Posted by: Bandit | Jun 15, 2020 6:00:38 AM

No, no. The data support the conclusion that the bar exam system was NOT racist.

We assume that the testing was bona fide color-blind--nobody is writing a little number "2" on the back of Black peoples' test papers or anything like that. If that were so, based on what we know about group variation we would expect such a difference in outcomes, based upon, if nothing else, differences in culture and wealth. This is Sociology 101 material: S.E.S. factors should be predictors of bar exam outcomes. That's life. It's systemic, we might say, but the bar exam is not there to cure it.

Posted by: John J. Kevlock, Sr. | Jun 15, 2020 5:48:37 AM

About 1 in 5 African Americans passed the bar in February. Means 80% are sitting on what is most likely massive law school debt with no means to pay it off. Wondering what the LSAT scores were for those 80%.

Posted by: Don Allen | Jun 15, 2020 5:41:56 AM