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California Sees Increase In Bar Passage Rate Following July 2017 Results

California’s bar exam results from July 2017 are out. Above The Law reports that the state show an overall passage rate of 49.6% (up from 43.07% in July 2016). Passage rate for first-time takers was 62% (up from 56% in July 2016).
Stanford Law saw the highest pass rate, 96%, for first-time takers. UC-Berkeley had the second highest passage rate at 84%.
Check out how all 21 ABA-accredited California law schools performed below.
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Historical trends
July 2017’s improvement is of special note considering how California’s bar exam passage rate reached a 32-year low in July of 2016 at 43%, according to The State Bar of California.
Above The Law reports that July 2016’s results were the third lowest summer passage rate in California since July 1951, when the passage rate was 37.6%.
Here are the overall pass rates for July bar exams since 1984.
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California has second-most difficult required pass score in nation
The Recorder reports that pass rates across the country have risen this year. According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, July 2017’s Multistate Bar Exam saw an increase by 1.4 points to 141.7. California’s bar exam requires a 144 score for passage — the second highest in the nation behind Delaware. The national average score wouldn’t be enough to pass California’s minimum passing score.
Nationally, large states outperform California. According to The Recorder, nearly 70% of test takers passed the New York State Bar Exam in 2017. In Pennsylvania, the pass rate reached 73.6% in 2017.
In October 2017, the California Supreme Court announced that it would not be lowering the passing score for the state’s bar exam.
In a letter, the high court stated that they were not persuaded to lower the pass score.
“Although the lower pass rates associated with the recent administrations of the California bar exam have generated concerns, the downward trend in pass rates appears to be consistent with a broader national pattern. Based on that review and balancing all considerations, the court is not persuaded that the relevant information and data developed at this time weigh in favor of departing from the longstanding pass score of 1440.”
Sources: Above The Law, Above The Law, The State Bar of California, The Recorder, The Recorder

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