Paul L. Caron

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Racial Disparities Persist In California Bar Exam Pass Rates: White: 72%, Asian: 66%, Hispanic: 61%, Black: 31%

The Recorder, In New Bar Exam Data, Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist:

Black and Hispanic law school graduates saw marked year-over-year improvements in pass rates on California’s February 2021 bar exam, according to statistics released Wednesday by the state bar.

Thirty-five percent of African American test-takers who sat for the exam for the first time in February passed, up from 17.6% the previous year. The percentage of Hispanic test-takers who passed rose from 25.2% to 45.4%. The overall pass rate for first time test-takers was 53.1%

Despite the improved pass rates, a significant disparity still persists between white test-takers and applicants of color. Almost 69% of white test-takers who sat for the exam for the first time taking the test for the first time passed. [Pass rates for first-time test-takers from California ABA-accredited Law Schools were: White: 72.4%, Asian: 66.0%, Hispanic: 60.9%, and Black: 30.8%.]

CA Bar

The numbers reflect an across-the-board, year-over-year increase, which comes after a California Supreme Court order last summer reducing the passing, or cut, score from 1440 to 1390 starting with the October 2020 exam.

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