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California Cut Score Lowered

The California legislature has passed a bar exam cut score retroactive resolution.

The HR 103 resolution will allow bar exam scores from the last five years to be counted for licensure, the Courthouse News Service reports.

“As a branch of government, this is the best statement we can make saying, ‘Please look at this because we have a pool of highly qualified individuals who could be attorneys,’” says Assemblyman Mark Stone, a Democrat representing Monterey who chairs the body’s Judiciary Committee, in the Courthouse News Service.


California has notoriously had one of the nation’s toughest bar exam cut scores.

Back in July, the California Supreme Court agreed to lower the state’s bar cut score from 1440 to 1390.

Proponents of a lower cut score argue that a high cut score acts as a barrier for people of color in law.

According to a study commissioned by the bar, lowering the cut score to 1390 would increase bar passage rates by 20.3%. However, the increase is even more amplified among minority test takers. The study found that lowering the cut score would increase passage by 40.4% Black test-takers, 26.1% Latin@ test-takers, 23.5% Asian test-takers, and 17.3% white test-takers.

Sources: Courthouse News Service, California Legislature , Above The Law, Impact Fund, State Bar of California

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