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Bar Exam Information

Getting Started

  • Basic Overview of Bar Admissions from the ABA
    • A law school graduate is not a lawyer and cannot practice law before he or she is licensed, and a license requires admission to the bar of at least one of the 56 jurisdictions in the U.S. (the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories). To get a general idea of the bar admission process, read this one page overview
  • Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements from the National Conference of Bar Examiners
    • Annual summary of the bar admission requirements in every U.S. jurisdiction (updated each spring)

Character & Fitness

Bar admission includes consideration of a bar applicant's character and moral fitness for practice. It is important for law school applicants and students to be familiar with all of the bar admission requirements of the jurisdiction(s) in which they intend to practice.

Bar Exams

Each jurisdiction determines its own rules for bar admission, including the composition of its bar exam. Most, if not all, jurisdictions use some combination of multiple choice and essay questions, and most jurisdictions use some combination of Multistate exams developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and jurisdiction-specific questions developed by their own courts or bar examiners. Each jurisdiction decides which Multistate exams it will use and the weight it will assign to each; this information is published annually on bar examiner websites and in the NCBE's Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements. Understanding the content and structure of your jurisdiction's bar exam will help you to tailor your studying and develop strategies for passing the exam.

Bar Examiners

Note: A small number of jurisdictions have a registration requirement or option for current law students. Depending on a state's rules, a student may be able to save time or money by registering for the bar exam during the first or second year of law school.

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