A test of minimum competency?

If you look around, you will see statements that bar exams are tests of "minimum competency."  Well, I don't think that applies to the California bar exam. 

According to initial statistics, only 64% of first-time takers from California ABA schools passed, and only 58% of first-timers from out-of-state ABA schools passed the February 2011 California bar exam.  So, that means that either the ABA schools are not doing a sufficient job of teaching students legal basics (possible) or that the California bar exam is overly difficult (much more likely).

As someone who has taken the California bar exam and a bar exam in a state with a much higher pass rate (Oregon), I can tell you that the depth of knowledge required in California is much greater than that required in Oregon.  I would assume this comparison applies to most other states as well. 

So, is it really that much harder to be minimally competent to practice law in California than in other states?  I doubt it, but the exam is not likely to change any time soon.

Anyway, yet another amazing statistical breakdown from the California bar.



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