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Law School Deans Call For Lowering California Bar Exam Cut Score

Following California’s two day bar exam, law school deans are calling on the state of California to lower its bar exam cut score.
The state bar held public hearings last week soliciting public comment on a decision that the California Supreme Court will make.
The cut score is traditionally set by the state’s bar exam committee. In July, the California Supreme Court amended the rule, asserting its own authority to determine the score, ABA Journal reports.
Two options are currently being considered: lower the score to a new interim bar exam cut score at 1414 or keep the current cut score at 1440.
Anthony Niedwiecki, dean of Golden Gate University School of Law, said a shift in teaching strategy is needed.
“With California scores so out of sync with other states, California schools are required to spend more time teaching students how to take the bar exam instead of providing them the essential skills and opportunity to engage with clients in real practice,” Niedwiecki said.
David Faigman, dean of the University of California San Francisco Hastings College of Law, is another advocate for lowering the score. He says California’s cut score should be comparable to the national median cut score at 135.
“Doing something because everyone else is doing it may not be the best basis for action, but when the lives and careers of so many students are at stake, it’s a whole lot better than departing from what everyone else does for no reason whatsoever,” Faigman said.
Out of 333 test-takers from UCSF Hastings College of Law, only 48% passed the California bar in 2016.
The bar Board of Trustees will make its recommendation to the Supreme Court, which will decide in the fall whether or not the cut score stays as it is or drops.
Sources: Above The Law, ABA Journal