It is important to review the bar exam requirements for each state in which you are considering taking the exam, as requirements vary and in some cases may influence your course selections. Some states' bar admission requirements prescribe certain courses that must be taken in law school. Some states, such as California, require that law students register within a certain short period of time after they begin law school study; otherwise, they must pay a substantial penalty fee.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners offers a useful resource guide online. Their web site also lists contact information for the agencies offering the bar examination in all 50 states and other U.S. jurisdictions. The listings include web addresses for the agencies that have web sites.
Masschusetts and New York takers: beware of additional and frequently-changing requirements noted below!
- IMPORTANT NEW REQUIREMENT FOR THE MASSACHUSETTS BAR!
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court adopted a new Massachusetts bar requirement, applicable to "all persons newly licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on or after September 1, 2013." The SJC adopted Rule 3:16, which requires completion of a one-day Practicing with Professionalism Course" within 18 months of the date of your admission. This day-long course focuses on topics to assist with transition to the practice of law in Massachusetts, including civility, ethics, managing a practice, and the importance of mentoring and pro bono work. This information is also available on the court's website.
Please see the SJC rule, a list of approved course providers, and a schedule of course offerings for calendar year 2014 here.
- Students planning to take the New York State bar exam
- NY Bar takers should make note of this letter containing important information concerning misconduct at the bar examination.
- Classes of 2013 and 2014: New York has instituted a new requirement for bar admission. From the New York Bar website:
"Beginning in January 2013, a new rule affecting bar admission in New York will be in effect. All candidates seeking admission after January 1, 2015, with the exception of admission on motion candidates, will need to file documentation showing that they have completed 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work, as required by Rule 520.16 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals. For further information regarding the implementation and requirements of the new rule, along with Frequently Asked Questions, please visit http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/baradmissionreqs.shtml. The FAQs contain information on the web address and toll free telephone number in the event that you have an inquiry."
- NOTE who this applies to:
"c. Law school graduates who pass the bar examination and are admitted to the New York bar before January 1, 2015 are not subject to the pro bono requirement. If you are graduating from law school in the spring of 2013 and you take and pass the July 2013 New York bar examination, you will not need to satisfy the Pro Bono Requirement, provided that you achieve admission to practice in calendar year 2014. If for any reason your admission occurs after January 1, 2015, you will need to comply with the Pro Bono Requirement."
For NY's Frequently Asked Questions, see http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/FAQsBarAdmission.pdf
- New Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) subject beginning in February 2015
National Conference of Bar Examiners, notifying law schools of the addition of a seventh topic, Civil Procedure, to the Multistate Bar Exam, beginning with the February 2015 exam. With this addition, the testing topics on the MBE will be:
1. Constitutional Law
3. Civil Procedure
4. Criminal Law and Procedure
6. Real Property