The State Bar seeks public comment on Provisional Licensure for Individuals Scoring 1390 or Higher on a California Bar Exam Administered July 2015–February 2020
Comments should be submitted using the online Public Comment Form. The online form allows you to input your comments directly and can also be used to upload your comment letter and/or other attachments.
Deadline: December 18, 2020
On July 16, 2020, the California Supreme Court directed the State Bar of California “to implement, as soon as possible, a temporary supervised provisional licensure program – a limited license to practice specified areas of law under the supervision of a licensed attorney.” The Supreme Court further directed that the provisional licensure program shall continue at least through June 1, 2022, and should be made available for all 2020 graduates of California-based law schools (whether ABA approved, California accredited, or unaccredited) or 2020 graduates of law schools outside of California if such graduates are permitted to sit for the Bar Examination under California law. Rule of Court 9.49 implementing the program as described by the Supreme Court was effective November 1, 2020.
The Provisional Licensure Working Group met to consider a supplemental rule to expand eligibility for that program to individuals who had previously taken the California Bar Exam and scored 1390 or higher—the score that the Supreme Court set as the pass line for the October 2020 exam and future exams—and making the program a pathway to licensure for those individuals.
Proposed Rule 9.49.1 expands the Provisional Licensure Program to include individuals who scored 1390 or higher on a California Bar Examination administered between July 2015 and February 2020, as determined by the first read score or final score, regardless of year of law school graduation or year satisfying the educational requirements to sit for the bar examination. Eligibility and application requirements of Rule 9.49 apply to those who apply under this expanded version of the program.
Following completion of a specified number of hours of supervised legal practice, completion of all other requirements for admission to the State Bar, and a positive evaluation by the Supervising Lawyer, the Provisionally Licensed Lawyer would be eligible for admission to the State Bar without having to take another Bar Examination. The working group developed two options which it proposes to submit to the State Bar Board of Trustees, with a recommendation to submit both options to the Supreme Court, regarding the required number of hours of supervision.
Options A and B are identical in all other ways.
Expanding the program in this manner could result in just under 2,000 applications for licensure in the program. Staff will need to process the applications and, following the submission of the record of hours of supervised legal practice completed, make the determination of whether all criteria for admission to the State Bar have been satisfied. This expansion could require the addition of temporary staff for a defined period of time to process the applications. This expansion will also result in additional automation costs to adjust the current programming for the Provisional Licensure Program to allow eligibility beyond 2020 law graduates and to account for the need to verify completion of hours of supervised legal practice.
Provisional Licensure Working Group
December 18, 2020