Bar Exam Information
To obtain a license to practice law, you must apply for bar admission through the specific board of bar/law examiners in the jurisdiction where you intend to practice. The bar exam is offered in February and July. Each jurisdiction has its own rules, procedures and deadlines to follow in order to take the exam and gain admission. Most bar application deadlines will occur during your final year of law school.
It is your responsibility to contact the board of bar examiners in the jurisdiction where you intend to practice in order to obtain specific information about the exam format, fees, deadlines and applications. The National Conference of Bar Examiners website has links to all 50-state board of bar examiners, including D.C., Guam, Palau, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, on bar admissions requirements. Go to www.ncbex.org. and on the left-hand margin click on Bar Admission Offices.
Bar Exam Format
Most jurisdictions have adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) which tests uniform principles of law. Lasting 2 to 3 days, the UBE consists of: (1) Multistate Essay Exam (MEE); (2) Multistate Performance Test (MPT); and (3) Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). The MEE & MPT are essay exams; the MBE is a multiple-choice test. In addition, each jurisdiction can test applicants over specific state law subjects. For example, in Missouri it’s the MECT – Missouri Educational Component Test.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
Jurisdictions also require the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam. The MPRE is a multiple-choice exam on the rules of professional responsibility. It’s given three times a year (March, August and November) and is typically taken while a law student. Check with the board of bar examiners about their rules, including any expiration date on your score, when signing up to the take the MPRE. (Note: Illinois requires you earn the lesser of 60 hours or 2/3 of the credits required for a J.D. to take this exam.)
Law Student Certification
To sit for the bar, you are required to submit: (1) a bar certification form; (2) transcript showing proof of JD; (3) an application for character & fitness report; (4) proof of citizenship/prescribed alien status; & (5) in some states a notarized handwriting sample.
- Send Bar Certification Forms to the law school’s Registrar’s Office in person, by mail or e-mail at email@example.com. It takes 3-5 business days to process this form (sometimes 14 days during grading/exam periods) and mail it back to the applicable jurisdiction.
- Transcripts are obtained by you through the university’s Office of Student Records for $5.
- Character & fitness investigations are done by the bar examiners once you submit your application. Generally, any disciplinary actions/academic issues or any discrepancies between the bar exam application and law school application are examined. If you believe there is a discrepancy between the bar exam and law school applications, you should contact Elizabeth Walsh, Assistant Dean of Students, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Note: a HOLD will be placed on your application or transcript if you have any outstanding fines or financial obligations pending. Contact the university’s Accounting Office to clear up any financial discrepancies.
Bar Exam Review Courses*
*Note: This list is provided for informational purposes only. Washington University School of Law does not endorse any bar review programs or products.