Title 4, Div. 1 of the Rules of the State Bar of California indicates that some law students must take a California First Year Bar Exam. Sometimes this exam is referred to as the baby bar or the California baby bar. This exam is unlike nearly another exam in the country and bar applicants should do their best to adhere to the guidelines and required eligibility criteria that the California bar has put into place.
Future California bar applicants who are attending law school in California must take the California first year bar exam following their first year of legal studies unless:
- The applicant has passed a previous bar exam in a United States jurisdiction or in a country where the common law of England supplies the foundation of jurisprudence; or
- The applicant has completed their first year of legal studies in a school accredited by the ABA; or
- After the applicant completes their first year of legal studies, they have also completed at least two years of college work prior to entering an ABA accredited law school.
No further credit can be received by a California law student for their legal studies until they have passed the California first year bar exam. Bar applicants who are able to pass the California first year bar exam within three tries will be able to receive all the credit they would have received from the date when the failed the first exam to when they passed. Failing to pass the exam within a applicants first three attempts (which must be taken in successive order) will only enable the California first year bar exam applicant to receive credit for their first year of legal studies. Even after passing the baby bar or the California first year bar exam, applicants will still have to take the MPRE.