MEDIA CONTACT:  Diane Curtis   415-538-2028


San Francisco, May 15, 2009 — The State Bar of California's Committee of Bar Examiners reported today that 33.5 percent of the applicants passed the February 2009 General Bar Examination (GBX). If the 1,368 people who passed the February 2009 exam satisfy other requirements for admission, they will become members of the State Bar.

February 2009 Bar Exam Results

California Bar Exam Information & History

California Bar Exam Pass Rate Summaries

Preliminary statistical analyses show that of the 4,084 applicants who took the GBX, 35.7 percent were first-time takers. The passing rate for 1,458 first-time applicants was 47.0 percent overall. The passing rate for the 2,626 applicants repeating the examination was 26.0 percent overall.

Preliminary statistical analyses show the first-time and repeater percent passing the GBX (rounded to whole numbers) by law school type as follows:

School Type First-Timers Repeaters
California ABA 53% 37%
Out-of-State ABA 45% 33%
CA (but not ABA) Accredited 25% 11%
Unaccredited/Fixed Facility 0% 3%
Unacredited:Correspondence/Distance Learning 31% 12%
All Others 51% 21%
All Applicants 47% 26%

The applicants not included in the above totals either were attorneys admitted in other states who either chose or were required to take the GBX, attorneys admitted in foreign jurisdictions, law students in the Law Office/Judge’s Chambers Study Program or law students who qualified to take the GBX through four years of law study.

More detailed statistics, including passing rates by individual law schools, will be made available in approximately four to six weeks and published on the State Bar’s Web site at

The three-day General Bar Examination is given twice a year, in February and July.  The exam consists of three sections: a multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), six essay questions, and two performance tests that are designed to assess an applicant's ability to apply general legal knowledge to practical tasks. The mean scaled MBE score in California was 1383 compared with the national average of 1357.

In addition, the Committee announced that 163 (45.2 percent) of the 361 lawyers who took the Attorneys' Examination passed.

The Attorneys' Examination, which consists of the essay and performance test sections of the GBX, is open to lawyers who have been admitted to the active practice of law in good standing for at least four years in another United States jurisdiction.

Successful applicants who have satisfied other requirements for admission – those who have not been reported by local district attorneys for being in arrears with family or child support payments, who have received a positive moral character determination and who have passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination – may either take the Attorney's Oath individually or participate in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state during June 2009.


NOTE TO EDITORS: The pass list for the February 2009 California Bar Examination can be found on, and downloaded from, the State Bar’s home page: on Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 6 a.m., P.D.T.   The list will be organized both alphabetically and by zip code.


Founded in 1927 by the state legislature, The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. By May 2009, membership reached more than 222,000.