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News Release

California Supreme Court Expands Law License Pathway for Prior Examinees

Thousands more law school graduates with qualifying prior bar exam scores will be able to work as fully licensed attorneys after completing supervised practice hours.
Jan 28, 2021

The California Supreme Court on Thursday issued an order expanding the pathway to a California law license, allowing thousands more law school graduates with qualifying prior bar exam scores to work as fully licensed attorneys after completing supervised practice hours.

The Provisional Licensure program will be expanded to include those who scored 1390 or higher on any California Bar Exam dating back from February 2020 to July 2015.

The new order permits those with qualifying scores to be admitted to the State Bar following completion of 300 hours of supervised legal practice, without retaking another bar exam. The program will continue until June 1, 2022, unless extended by the court.

The State Bar of California will implement the program changes by Mar. 1.

In July, the court lowered the exam passing score to 1390 but did not retroactively apply the new passing score to prior administrations of the exam, pending further review.

The California Supreme Court first adopted the provisional licensing program for 2020 law school graduates in October, after the COVID-19 health pandemic forced delay of the bar exam.

According to the State Bar, more than 1,270 people have already applied to the program.