California is proposing to lower its standards for the state bar exam but the problem isn't the exam, says a lawyer in The Golden State.
"The bar exam has the same level as in the past. It's not more difficult than in the past," advises Pacific Justice Institute attorney Brad Dacus.
The State Bar of California announced its proposal July 31 to lower the passing score by three points, which is estimated to increase the passing rate of would-be licensed attorneys by eight percentage points, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
In its defense, the story explained, California has the second-highest score, 144, required for passage behind Delaware. The median national score is 135.
The story also explained that only 43 percent of test-takers passed the bar exam last year – the lowest of any state and the lowest in California since the 1980s.
Dacus, who earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law, founded PJI in 1997 to pursue religious liberty cases in the state.
The problem in California, Dacus continues, is there are fewer qualified candidates taking the bar, hence the desire by some to lower its standards.
The clients of those attorneys, he warns, will pay the price.
"With any level of professional expertise, we the people benefit the most when the best candidates are approved to practice," the attorney observes. "No one wants a second-tier brain surgeon."
The state's proposal is under review, including welcoming public comment, and the California Supreme Court will have the final say.