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Colorado Supreme Court announces July 2020 bar exam results, featuring highest passage rate in seven years

Thursday, October 8, 2020

DENVER – The Colorado Supreme Court announced today that 78 percent of the 642 people who took the July 2020 bar exam in Colorado passed the exam, the highest percentage since 2013. The bar passage rate was six points higher than the July 2019 bar exam and eight points higher than the July 2018 bar exam despite the challenges experienced by applicants and administrators in conducting an in-person exam this year.

Due to COVID-19, the two-day in-person exam was held in three locations: the University of Colorado Law School, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and the Denver Mart. In each facility, exam applicants were further separated into different testing rooms to ensure six-foot distancing. All exam applicants and proctors were required to wear masks, answer health screening questions and submit to a daily temperature check prior to taking the exam. Applicants were informed that they could be denied the opportunity to sit for the exam if they became sick or showed symptoms. The Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, including the Office of Attorney Admissions, consulted with local public health officials and worked with the law schools in developing exam protocols and plans.

There were no known COVID-19 outbreaks resulting from the in-person exam. All applicants signed an agreement prior to the exam requiring them to notify the Office of Attorney Admissions of any positive COVID-19 test taken or received within 14 days of the exam. The only applicant who notified the Office of a positive test had taken a pre-surgery COVID-19 test prior to the exam; that applicant subsequently tested negative eight days after the exam. 

Applicants were allowed to defer to the February 2021 bar exam for no additional fee. The Court also adopted a rule that allowed such applicants to become certified to practice law under supervision between now and the February bar exam.

The Colorado Supreme Court administers an exam for licensure of attorneys twice a year. The two-day test is known as the Uniform Bar Exam and is created by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. More than half the states administer the same exam, allowing applicants to use their scores for bar admission to those other states. There was no on-line, remote option for the Uniform Bar Exam this summer or fall.

The Court, through the Office of Attorney Admissions, will make announcements about the February 2021 bar exam later this year.

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