State Bar of California Leaks Bar Exam Topics

Last Thursday, the State Bar of California inadvertently leaked essay topics for the July 30-31 state bar exams to 16 law school deans.

“On Saturday, July 27, we became aware that the State Bar inadvertently prematurely provided deans of several California law schools a list of the general subject matter topics contained in the July 2019 California Bar Examination essay questions and performance test,” Donna Hershkowitz, Chief of Programs for the State Bar, says in a statement. “This was in a routine invitation to observe a grading session – the invitation typically goes out after the completion of the exam.”

In response to the leak, the State Bar decided to email the leaked topics to all 9,000 test-takers in “an attempt to level the playing field” in case that any test-takers received the email from law school deans.

“We have no evidence the information was shared with students,” Hershkowitz says. “However, out of an abundance of caution and fairness, and in an attempt to level the playing field should any applicants have had access to the information contained in the memo, on Saturday evening, we emailed the same information, verbatim, to all those preparing to take the examination.”

WHAT THE LEAK MEANS

The topics leaked included civil procedure, remedies/constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, professional responsibility, and contracts, according to The Modesto Bee.

Tammi Rice, vice president of Kaplan Bar Review, says the leak represents an “unprecedented situation.”

“The good news for exam takers is that it eliminates about a dozen possible essay topics, so they know exactly which essay topics to focus on and which to ignore in their last days of preparation,” Rice says. “This gives them the opportunity to hone their skills in the lead up to Test Day. We advise students to remain focused on their prep and to not let this throw them off their game. For all the students who have been studying hard for the bar exam: they’ve got this.”

Sources: The State Bar of California, The Modesto Bee, Kaplan Test Prep