A near-record number of Chapman University Fowler School of Law students passed the most recent California bar exam, with a first-time bar pass rate of 81%—the second highest in the law school’s history, and well above both the state’s first-time and overall pass rates.

A total of 138 Fowler School of Law alumni passed California’s October 2020 bar exam, including 112 first-time takers, 25 repeat takers, and one LL.M. graduate—in addition to four recent graduates who passed the bar in other states. Nearly 100 of these new attorneys were sworn into the California State Bar on January 19 at a virtual ceremony held by the law school via Zoom, where the state oath was administered by Orange County Superior Court Judge Fred Slaughter, and the federal oath by retired Central District of California U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Catherine Bauer.

The ceremony was hosted by Fowler School of Law Dean Matt Parlow, and additional remarks were provided by Orange County Bar Association 2021 President Larisa Dinsmoor and Fowler School of Law Alumni Advisory Board member Jason Burris ‘02 (JD ‘08). During the ceremony, Dean Parlow recognized the extraordinary circumstances under which the latest group of alumni took the bar exam.

“For those who just graduated in 2020, we saw COVID disrupt the end of their law school careers,” Parlow said. “They had to take what became a delayed bar exam, and the first online-only bar exam. For them to triumph over all that adversity and be here, victorious, is a remarkable accomplishment.”

As always, Fowler School of Law graduates were supported by the law school in several ways leading up to the bar exam. The supplementary bar exam preparation program, led by Professor Mario Mainero, quickly adapted to the changes in both the timing and the delivery method of the California state bar exam, ensuring test takers were ready to tackle the new online format. As well, during the days of the bar exam itself, alumni were treated to complimentary meals via the law school’s Bar Lunch Program, remote delivery of which was made possible in part by a generous gift from CourtCall CEO and Advisory Board member Bob Alvarado.