Senator Jackson Statement Regarding 2020 Bar Exam Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

July 16, 2020

SACRAMENTO –As Chair of the State Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), released the following statement regarding the announcement today by the State Supreme Court that the bar exam will be offered online this October 5 and 6 with a permanent reduced passing score of 1390. In addition, the State Bar will create a provisional license program that will allow 2020 graduates to practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney until they are able to take and pass the bar exam by June 1, 2022.

“I applaud the State Supreme Court for acknowledging the challenges facing recent graduates during this pandemic and ensuring the bar exam is administered safely. Their decision to move the exam online with a reduced passing score as well as providing a temporary provisional licensing program for 2020 graduates is an appropriate and reasoned approach to addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I encourage the State Bar to take steps to address the inequities posed by an online exam and ensure all qualified applicants who wish to take the exam online have access to the resources they need to do so.

“I want to thank the State Supreme Court for striking the appropriate balance between addressing the significant challenges facing recent graduates and maintaining public protection during this unprecedented chapter in our history,” said Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, Chair of the State Senate Judiciary Committee.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.