BAR FORMS - Students needing bar forms completed by SRO can drop them off at the SRO office, mail them to SRO (580 Massie Road, C'ville 22903), or email them to SRO (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please allow at least 2 business days for SRO to complete the forms.
Obtaining a license to practice law in a jurisdiction is governed and overseen by that jurisdiction’s bar admissions agency. Each jurisdiction’s initial licensure requirements vary, but the process typically involves the following elements:
- Apply to take the bar exam and seek admission. Note that in a few jurisdictions first- or second-year law students – while they are in school – may register their intent to sit for the bar. (This registration is separate from applying to take their exam.)
- Take and earn a minimum score required by the jurisdiction on the bar exam;
- Take and earn a minimum score required by the jurisdiction on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE);
- Complete and satisfy the jurisdiction’s Character & Fitness process; and,
- Meet any other qualifications for admission imposed by that jurisdiction, for example pro bono or professional skills requirements.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners offers a free comprehensive guide to bar admissions requirements along with a summary of bar admission information specific to each jurisdiction.
Federal regulations require the Law School to disclose whether its degree programs meet U.S. jurisdictions’ educational requirements for licensure (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)). The University’s Institutional Accreditation office maintains jurisdiction by jurisdiction information for students and prospective students on its state authorization web pages. In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
The Law School also maintains general information on the bar exam and the bar admissions process for J.D.s and for LL.M.s below. The following information is intended to be used as a resource, not as a substitute for inquiring with a jurisdiction directly. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to understand and be aware of the licensure requirements for a jurisdiction in which you intend to seek admission, including all deadlines for applications, paperwork, and testing. The following information is intended to be used as a resource, not as a substitute for inquiring with a jurisdiction directly.
MISC. STATE-SPECIFIC EXAM INFORMATION
Obtaining a license to practice law (also referred to as being “admitted to the bar”) in a jurisdiction is governed and overseen by each jurisdiction’s Board of Bar Examiners (or a similarly titled entity). Thus, each jurisdiction’s licensure requirements vary, but the process typically involves the following elements:
- Satisfactorily and timely applying for, taking, and earning a minimum score required by the jurisdiction on the Bar Exam.
- Completing and satisfying the jurisdiction’s Character & Fitness process.
- Satisfactorily and timely applying for, taking, and earning a minimum score required by the jurisdiction on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
UVA Law will not notify students of the deadlines and requirements for each jurisdiction, but here are some useful resources for finding answers:
- National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBEX) (with drop-down menu to jusrisdictional websites)
- Virginia Board of Bar Examiners
- ABA Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements
The bar exam is offered twice a year in most jurisdictions, once in February and once in July.
Most jurisdictions’ bar exams are two days long, although in some jurisdictions the exam is three days long. Depending on the jurisdictions involved, you may be able to take two bar exams concurrently (see below).
Most jurisdictions administer the Multistate Bar Exam on one of the days of the examination period.
Each jurisdiction requires you to apply for the bar exam before you take it and have strict deadlines. Some jurisdictions (although not most) require that you register your intent to sit for their bar exam during your first year of law school. Start early and make sure you understand the requirements and deadlines for your jurisdiction. If you do not have a specific jurisdiction identified yet, talk to someone in the Career Services Office or the Public Service Center — they can help you narrow down your leading candidates.
The format of the exam varies by jurisdiction (so check jurisdiction), but may include:
- MBE (Multistate Bar Exam) - a six-hour, 200 multiple choice exam on Cvil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.
- MPT (Multistate Performance Test) - two 90-minute skills questions covering the following: factual analysis, legal analysis and reasoning, problem solving, identification and resolution of ethical dilemas, written communication, and organization and management of a legal task.
- MEE (Multistate Essay Exam) - a 3-hour, six-question essay exam covering Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal law and Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Real Property, Secured Transactions, Torts, Trusts & Estates.
- UBE (Uniform Bar Exam) - a 2-day exam composed of the MBE, MPT, and MEE currently adopted by many states and the District of Columbia ( click here for map, or here).
- State-specific essays. Some non-UBE jurisdictions have a full day for essay questions on state-specific areas of law.
While the requirements for each jurisdiction vary, these elements are typically required:
Academic eligibility is not complicated for JD students, while it may be for LLMs. Many jurisdictions do not permit candidates to sit for the exam without a JD, and the ones which do allow an applicant to sit for the exam with an LLM degree require such an applicant to have taken certain courses. For example, NY requires LLM students to have at least 24 credits in courses with a classroom component, as well as other specific academic requirements.
Transcripts from an applicant’s law school are typically required, and some jurisdictions may also require submission of undergraduate and graduate schools attended too. It is important to note that the Law School’s Student Records Office cannot order a transcript from the University Registrar’s Office (UREG) on behalf of a student or graduate. It is your responsibility to follow UREG’s procedures and instructions to ensure the ordering and timely delivery of a transcript.
Law School Certification Form/Dean’s Certification Form
Many jurisdictions require a Law School (or Dean’s) Certification Form, which certifies your attendance and that you are / were in good academic and/or disciplinary standing. Sometimes, the jurisdiction sends the form directly to the Student Records Office, while others require that the applicant submit it. If the latter applies, bring this form to the Student Records Office and allow a minimum of two business days for processing. Make sure you understand clearly the deadline for receipt of the form, as the deadlines vary by jurisdiction.
Certified Handwriting Sample and Notarized Forms
If your jurisdiction requires completion of a certified handwriting sample, bring the blank form to the Student Records Office. You will need to complete and sign the handwriting sample in the presence of Student Records personnel, who can then sign the paperwork. Do not bring an already-completed writing sample to Student Records.
Relatedly, some forms require notarization. The Student Records Office has a notary public who can notarize bar-related documents for you. If you need a notary, bring your unsigned bar forms to SRO so SRO personnel can watch you sign the form and then notarize it.
Character and Fitness
Each jurisdiction wants to know that an applicant possesses good character and fitness to practice law. This may be accomplished in many ways, usually through a detailed written questionnaire but sometimes through a personal interview. Questions can cover a range of topics, such as past employment relationships, educational institutions attended, residences, driving record, judicial record, liens, debts, misconduct, discipline, accusations, arrests, or convictions. Most jurisdictions will also send a separate form to the Law School asking us about information in our records and about misconduct and/or discipline that has occurred during your law school tenure.
For examples of the kinds of questions you may encounter, the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners posts a sample form online (click here); note that it is only a sample and not an authoritative list of character and fitness questions you must answer for your jurisdiction. It is very important to review the questions on your jurisdiction’s character and fitness form as early as possible. If you have questions or concerns about a question, you should contact the Student Affairs Office to discuss your situation. The NCBE’s bar exam guide has a chart that covers some character and fitness determinations for jurisdictions.
University Police provides fingerprinting services for a fee. Call the police department at 434-924-7166 on the day you want to have them done to make sure someone is available to provide the service. You will need to bring your fingerprint card with you. If you are an Albemarle County resident, you can also get fingerprints at the county sheriff’s office for a fee. More
Some jurisdictions require applicants to submit an evaluative form before applying to sit for their exam. In New York, for example, all first-time foreign LL.M. bar applicants must complete an online Foreign Evaluation Form before applying to sit for the New York bar examination. This form and all of the required documentation is due to the Board at least six months prior to the first day of the application filing period for the desired exam.
The MPRE is a standardized exam based on the rules and standards for the professional conduct of attorneys. It is required for admission to almost every jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction that requires the MPRE sets its own passing score -- if you plan to seek admission to more than one jurisdiction, make sure you know the passing score each jurisdiction requires.
The MPRE is a standardized test, administered nationally in the spring (March/April), the summer (August), and the fall (October/November). Most UVA Law students take the exam in the spring of their third year. Some jurisdictions require you to take the MPRE before you take their bar exam. It is very important that you know your jurisdiction’s requirements so that you understand the pertinent deadlines.
MPRE registration is a multi-step process.
- Register for the exam through the NCBE;
- Schedule your test appointment with Pearson VUE (instructions will be provided to you via email after you register for the exam. The email will come from Pearson VUE, not the NCBE); and
- Pay the test fee by the deadlines.
Pearson VUE does not have any testing centers in Charlottesville, so you will need to be prepared to travel to take the exam. Testing center choices cannot be guaranteed, and you should not wait until the last minute to register for the exam and schedule your appointment to test.
During the COVID pandemic, the NCBE has offerred a limited number of international site testing opportunities to take the MPRE in March for candidates who are unable to travel to the United States. These will be offered at authorized international and other Pearson VUE Professional Centers. This program has limited seating availability, and decisions are made on a first-come, first-served basis. Requests can be submitted by logging in to your NCBE Account and selecting International MPRE Request Form. Additional information, including a list of participating locations, will be available in NCBE Accounts in early December.
Pearson VUE has very strict testing policies. Please make sure you understand them before you arrive at your testing center for the exam.
You do not need to take one of the Law School’s Professional Responsibility courses before you take the MPRE, although it may help you prepare for the exam.
MISC. STATE-SPECIFIC INFORMATION
The NY Bar Application Process - Summary
In New York, it is important to keep in mind that there's a difference between applying for the bar exam versus applying for bar admission (licensure). The eligibility requirements for the bar exam are here while bar admissions requirements can be found here.
NY Bar Exam
NY Is a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) jurisdiction. For the application to take the UBE in NY, see NYBOLE guide here, and summarized below. The exam is typically offered on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July each year, and the application for taking it typically becomes available from Nov. 1-30 for the February exam, and from April 1-30 for the July exam. Students must monitor the NYBOLE website for specific announcements about deadlines and requirements.
- Satisfy the Academic Eligibility Requirements -- JDs should review Rule 520.3 and LLMs should review Rule 520.6 (see detailed info below). All first-time foreign LL.M. bar applicants must complete an online Foreign Evaluation Form before applying to sit for the New York bar examination. This form is typically required in May preceding the Feb. exam, and in October preceding the July exam.
- Create a NYBOLE account;
- Submit the bar exam application (and pay the application fee). The application is typically available from April 1-30 for the July exam, and from Nov. 1-30 for the February exam.
- For JD applicants, SRO will receive a Certificate of Attendance Form from NY to be returned by June 15th for the July exam or by Feb 1st for the Feb. exam. LL.M. applicants to the NY Bar must submit their LL.M. Certificate of Attendance Form directly to the Student Records Office by the deadline advertised by SRO. SRO verifies all the LL.M. forms and sends them to the New York Board of Bar Examiners (NYBOLE). SRO mails all of the LL.M. certificates together via overnight delivery a few days before the deadline. Moreover, the student's final transcript must be attached to the form we send, so SRO issues guidance each year to LLMs taking the NY Bar for asking the University to issue a transcript directly to SRO using this transcript request form. It is important to note that a transcript issued to the student and then mailed to NYBOLE will not suffice. The time between the finalization of an LL.M. student’s transcript (i.e. when all the grades are submitted), degree conferral, and the NYBOLE application deadline is narrow, so it is important to know and follow SRO's transcript-obtaining requirements.
NY Bar Admission
For bar admission (licensure), see NYBOLE guidance here and summarized below. These items are not required to apply for the exam but are required to obtain a license. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the NYBOLE guidance with special attention to timing or sequencing requirements for these admission elements:
- Admissions Questionnaire
- Pro Bono Requirement
- Good moral character affirmations
- Skills Competency Requirement (applies to applicants who commenced study after Aug. 1, 2016) and Certification of Professional Skills Competency (see "Pathways" info below).
- Take and complete the NY-specific NY Law Course (NYLC), and thereafter, take and pass the online NY Law Exam (NYLE)
- Take and complete the Multistate Professional Responsibilities Exam (MPRE)
The NY Bar - Resources
It is your responsibility to read rule 520.3 in its entirety and understand its requirements. Please note that among other things, there are specific requirements on: the total number of credits taken; professional responsibility coursework; clinics, field placement and externships; skills requirements; the number of credits you may take in any semester; and the number of credits you may take outside of the Law School (including credits taken as part of a dual-degree program). When you apply to take the NY Bar exam, you will submit a Certification Form with your application substantiating your academic eligibility in these coursework categories. Review and complete this form very carefully and note the information that you are asked to provide — you may find it easier to have your transcript in front of you when you complete the form. The Certification Form you submit to the NY Bar Examiners (NYBOLE) is mailed to the Student Records Office for verification. Then SRO reviews all forms and mails all the NY Bar Certification Forms collectively via overnight delivery back to the NYBOLE before the application deadline.
If you have general questions, please contact the Student Records Office.
Please review carefully the eligibility requirements for foreign-trained lawyers who receive the LL.M. from UVA.
- If you plan to rely on New York’s "cure" provision, note the recommendation that you request an evaluation of your foreign educational credentials before you begin the LL.M. program and at least one year in advance of applying to sit for the bar. You do not need to request an evaluation before you begin your studies at UVA, but you run the risk of forfeiting your exam application fee if you are deemed ineligible to sit for the exam.
- All first-time applicants under Rule 520.6 must complete an online Foreign Evaluation Form before applying to sit for the New York bar examination. This form and all of the required documentation is due to the Board at least six months prior to the first day of the application filing period for the exam you wish to take.
- For applicants who began their LL.M. studies in or after the 2012-13 academic year, please pay attention to the specific course and credit requirements, which include requirements on the minimum number of credits you must take (including in-classroom credit requirements), professional responsibility, a legal research, writing and analysis course, a course in American legal studies, and coursework in subjects tested on the New York bar examination. A comparison chart of "cure" provisions for LL.M. candidates who began their studies before 2012-13 and those for 2012-13 and after is available here. LL.M. candidates with questions about their program of study here should contact the Graduate Studies Office.
- Rule 520.6(b)(3)(vi)(d) requires LLM applicants to take at least 6 credits in courses tested on the NY Bar. UVA Law has obtained written confirmation from the NYBOLE on specific courses which do or do not satisfy this requirement (summarized here).
All candidates who seek admission to the New York state bar must complete 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work before applying for admission to the bar. Admission on motion candidates are exempt. More information on the requirement is available from the New York State Board of Law Examiners. Opportunities to satisfy this requirement while in law school can include (1) working on qualifying pro bono projects arranged through the Law School’s Pro Bono Office and/or (2) providing qualifying legal assistance through several of the Law School’s clinical courses. The Law School’s Pro Bono Office can help you find qualifying pro bono projects. It is your responsibility to determine whether your service activities will qualify as “pro bono service” as defined by the New York State Board of Law Examiners.
The NY BAR - SKILLS COMPETENCY REQUIREMENT (Required for both J.D.s and LL.M.s, but "Pathways" Not Identical)
Applies to applicants who qualify for the bar examination based upon having attended an ABA-approved law school and having satisfied the requirements of section 520.3 or based upon their foreign legal education alone under section 520.6, and who commenced their legal studies after August 1, 2016. Foreign-educated applicants who are required to complete an LL.M. program at an ABA-approved law school in order to sit for the bar examination under section 520.6, the skills competency requirement will apply to those who commence their LL.M. program after August 1, 2018. More information on the requirement is available from the New York State Board of Law Examiners.
The NY Bar and Certification of Professional Skills Competency: "Pathway 1" Info for J.D. Students (click here for PDF of NY Form Affidavit)
This section summarizes the requirements of NY Court of Appeals Rule 520.18 for JD students entering the JD program on or after August 2016; it does not displace an individual’s responsibility to read, understand, and comply with any of the NY Bar rules and regulations, including Section 520.18. Moreover, only the NY Board of Law Examiners (and ultimately the NY Court of Appeals) can determine eligibility to sit for the NY Bar exam.
Section 520.18 of the NY Court of Appeals Rules for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law requires a New York bar applicant to establish that he or she has acquired “skills and professional values” necessary for “basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession” consistent with ABA Standard 302(b), (c), and (d). Applicants may satisfy this requirement by completing one of five separate pathways described in section 520.18. Pathway 1 allows an applicant to submit a certification from the applicant’s law school confirming that (a) the law school has developed a plan identifying and incorporating into its curriculum the skills and professional values that, in the school’s judgment, are required for its graduates’ basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession; and (b) the applicant has acquired sufficient competency in those skills and sufficient familiarity with those professional values.
As our J.D. program learning outcomes describe, the Virginia J.D. program of legal education has at its core the “skills and professional values” necessary to the practice of law. These include knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law; legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context; exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients in the legal system; and other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.
In accordance with our learning outcomes, students should master the fundamentals of legal reasoning, argument, and writing, as well as professional ethics. They should develop advanced lawyering skills through academic offerings in any area they choose to emphasize, such as business methods, litigation, negotiations, public speaking and persuasion, transactional planning and drafting, the formation and implementation of laws and public policy, and participation in clinics and externships. Further, students should identify and be able to resolve situations where lawyers have professional and ethical obligations, including those that might arise as a representative of a client, an officer of the court, or in other situations involving the legal profession’s standards of professional responsibility.
The required first-year J.D. curriculum includes Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Torts, Constitutional Law, Property, and a full-year course on Legal Research and Writing. Students in these courses learn about substantive and procedural aspects of law, as well as about legal institutions and the legal profession. These courses provide instruction in skills including legal reasoning, legal writing, and oral presentation. In Legal Research and Writing, students complete several research assignments, write and revise multiple memoranda, and submit a full-scale legal brief on a complex legal question. All students also must complete an oral argument that is based upon their legal briefs and is judged by outside judges.
Each student must also complete at least six credits of coursework that have been designated as fulfilling the law school’s professional skills requirement. Professional skills courses include twenty semester- and year-long clinical offerings, a wide variety of simulation courses covering a number of specialties, and a both part-time and full-time externships. All of these offerings provide training in practical legal skills with faculty supervision and feedback, as well as opportunities for self-evaluation. These offerings encompass a wide variety of topics and formats, but they all provide practical training in skills identified by the faculty as essential to effective participation in the legal profession, such as analytical and problem-solving skills, investigation, negotiation, transactional skills, legal writing, oral advocacy, and client counseling and communication.
Every upper-level student is also required to complete a substantial research paper. This project requires extensive legal research undertaken under faculty supervision, either in a course or through an independent project. It must result in a substantial research paper that utilizes and further develops legal research and writing skills cultivated in the first-year curriculum.
Finally, our students receive instruction and practical skills in professional ethics. In addition to the introduction to legal professionalism and ethics offered in the first-year curriculum, each student is required to fulfill a professional responsibility requirement by taking a class centered on legal ethics. These courses are taught by resident faculty members, as well as practitioners and judges.
Through these components of study, the Virginia J.D. program of legal education imparts the “skills and professional values” necessary for “basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession.”
The NY Bar and Certification of Professional Skills Competency: Info for LL.M. Students (click here for PDF of NY Form Affidavit)
This section summarizes the requirements of NY Court of Appeals Rule 520.18; it does not displace an individual’s responsibility to read, understand, and comply with any of the NY Bar rules and regulations, including Section 520.18 and the FAQs promulgated by the NY Board of Law Examiners.
Starting with LL.M. students entering the program in August 2018, LL.M. students applying for admission to the NY Bar must, like J.D. students, meet the Professional Skills Competency requirements of Section 520.18 of the NY Court of Appeals Rules for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law. As described above, LL.M. applicants must meet specific academic credit load and coursework requirements (i.e. 12 required credits and at least 12 elective credits), but because of its short 1-year duration, LL.M. students cannot meet the requirements of section 520.18 via coursework alone (i.e. via “Pathway 1”). Instead, LL.M. students seeking admission to NY must satisfy the requirements of NY Rule 520.18 via “Pathway 4” (520.18(a)(4)) or “Pathway 5” (520.18(a)(5)):
- “Pathway 4” (520.18(a)(4)): under this option, NY will allow an applicant to meet the Professional Skills Competency requirements of Rule 520.18 by completing a full-time paid or unpaid apprenticeship after completion of their foreign law degree. The apprenticeship must be for at least a continuous 6-months duration in a law office in the United States, under the supervision of one or more attorneys who have, for at least two years, been admitted to practice and in good standing in the jurisdiction where the apprenticeship occurs. For an applicant who is unable to secure an apprenticeship in the United States, the applicant may complete the apprenticeship in a law office in another country, territory or commonwealth outside the continental United States, under the supervision of one or more attorneys who have, for at least two years, been in good standing and authorized to practice law in that country, territory or commonwealth. In countries, territories or commonwealths that permit the practice of law without formal admission, supervision by a law graduate who has not been formally admitted to the bar may suffice as long as the supervisor is authorized to engage in the relevant practice under the jurisdiction's rules, is in full compliance with the jurisdiction's rules, and has had at least two years of experience in the relevant practice.
- “Pathway 5” (520.18(a)(5)): under this option, NY will allow an applicant to meet the Professional Skills Competency requirements of Rule 520.18 if they have been authorized to practice law in another United States jurisdiction or any other country, territory or commonwealth outside the continental United States. Such an applicant must establish and submit proof that the applicant has been in good standing and practiced law in that jurisdiction full-time for at least one year or half-time for two years following the applicant's authorization to practice. Prior legal practice may qualify even if it occurred without formal admission to the bar if the applicant engaged in lawful practice in a country, territory or commonwealth that permits legal practice without formal admission to the bar, and if the prior practice was for at least one year or half-time for two years, in full compliance with the jurisdiction's rules. For an applicant who qualifies for the bar exam after completion of an LL.M. degree pursuant to section 520.6, the applicant's practice may occur before or after commencement of the LL.M. program
Pursuant to NY Court of Appeals rule 520.2(b) (here), law school graduates seeking licensure in New York who have taken the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in another UBE jurisdiction can become licensed in New York by (1) transferring a UBE score of at least 266, and (2) completing all other admissions requirements of the New York Court of Appeals.
The New York Board of Law Examiners (NYBOLE) describes the process here, but here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Create a BOLE account once you have earned a UBE score of 266 in another UBE jurisdiction;
- Select UBE Score Transfer in the Applicant Services Portal of the to access the Application for Admission by Transferred UBE Score.
- Submit an application for examination by transferred UBE score and pay the application fee. This will include a section on your curricular eligibility (as either a JD or LLM graduate), which will require you to complete the “Certificate of Attendance” based on your transcript (which you should have in-hand, either in official or unofficial form, for completing this section of the application).
- Within 72 hours of submitting your application, you will receive an email with an attachment containing the Law School Certificate of Attendance Form. Submit the form to SRO (via email is fine). We will audit your form, verify it, and mail it directly to the Board.
- Submit your UBE score to the Board. The score cannot be more than three years old. Proof must be in the form of an official UBE score transcript from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). Requests to transfer an official UBE score shall be made at http://www.ncbex.org/ncbe-exam-score-services/ube-score-services/. NCBE charges a $25 fee for each UBE score transcript.
The applicant must also satisfy the following requirements before Board will issue a letter certifying the applicant to the Appellate Division:
- Earn at least an 85 score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE);
- Complete the online New York Law Course (NYLC). The NYLC cannot be completed more than one year before the date when you first sat for the UBE
- Take and pass the online New York Law Exam (NYLE) (a 50-question multiple choice online test) after completing the NYLC.
- Submit the form certifying compliance with the 50 hour pro bono service requirement. Note: the Court of Appeals waived this requirement for 2020 graduates (see here)
- Submit the form certifying compliance with the Skills Competency Requirement. Note: the Court of Appeals waived this requirement for 2020 applicants (see here);
Upon completion of these requirements, the Board will issue a certifying letter, and the applicant will need to complete and file an application for admission to the appropriate Appellate Division.
If you plan to practice patent law, the patent bar exam is required to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You may take the exam while you are a law student. The exam is a one day, multiple-choice, computer-based test.
More information on the Patent Bar Exam requirements, administration and scheduling is available on the USPTO's website.
If I have questions about the bar application, where do I go?
The Student Records Office can assist with general bar information. For jurisdiction specific questions, look at the jurisdiction’s bar admission website. The NCBE and the ABA also have summary information available; these sites are listed under the the Quick Resources section of this website. If you cannot find your answer there, call the jurisdiction’s bar examiners directly.
How do I obtain an official transcript?
An official transcript can only obtained via the University Registrar’s Office (UREG). Click here for details.
Who pays for the bar exam, study courses and materials, and living expenses over the summer?
Many large law firms will pay for bar expenses of incoming associates. Practices vary by firm; if you have accepted an offer with a private law firm, make sure you have a clear understanding of what your firm will pay for, when and how. For example, some firms may reimburse you for covered expenses after the fact; others may pay some expenses directly to the provider. Some may give you a stipend to help cover your living expenses, whereas others may offer you the ability to take out an advance on your salary.
Public service employers usually do not pay for the bar exam or a bar exam prep course.
What do I do if I cannot afford bar exam costs?
Some private lenders offer bar study loans for the 6- to 12-month period immediately following graduation. The Law School's Financial Aid Office can provide you with resources on loan options. FinAid.org, one resource, maintains an online chart of private student loan options (scroll to the bottom of the screen). If you have questions or need help, contact the Law School’s Financial Aid Office the spring before you graduate, if not before.
Whether you can take two jurisdictions’ bar exams back-to-back depends on (a) the length of each bar exam (two days vs. three); (b) the days they are offered (Tuesday/Wednesday; Wednesday/Thursday); and (c) whether the jurisdictions will accept a MBE score from a concurrent exam. You will also want to be mindful of travel issues on the middle day.
Most jurisdictions administer the Multistate Bar Exam on one of the days of the examination period. Currently, every U.S. jurisdiction but Louisiana uses the MBE.
What is reciprocity?
Some jurisdictions require practicing attorneys licensed in another jurisdiction to take their jurisdiction’s bar examination to be admitted. In other jurisdictions, if certain conditions are met, a licensed attorney may be admitted with lesser testing or by motion. The policies and procedures vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions contains detailed information on admission by motion, reciprocity, comity and attorneys’ exams.
Not all jurisdictions offer reciprocity. If you think that you will move/be transferred to a different jurisdiction during your legal career, you should pay attention to each jurisdiction’s rules now.
What if I do not know where I will practice?
If you don’t know yet where you will practice, and don’t know which bar exam you should take, contact Career Services or the Public Service Center. You should be able to narrow your list down to a few jurisdictions, so that you can understand the requirements in each and make an informed decision.
Which bar exam prep course should I take?
The Law School provides a list of several bar exam prep companies and their contact information for your convenience. Many will come to the Law School each semester to promote their services.
The right bar review course will depend on you. You will want to find out how the programs structure their courses — some are offered by video/live lecture to a group of students in a classroom; others offer a self-study model.
What are “table days”?
The Law School gives bar exam prep companies limited rights to solicit in the Law School building. Twice a year, the law school will host "table days" during which bar exam prep companies can come on site to promote their courses. Bar prep companies' representatives will be available to meet with students at the tables in Hunton & Williams Hall.
What if I do not pass the bar?
Many successful and bright attorneys did not pass the bar exam on the first try. If this happens to you, do not panic. Do not give up.
Do contact the Career Services Office/Public Service Center or the Student Affairs Office. You will want to take the time to figure out what went wrong so that you can prepare differently the next time, and they can help you with this.
If you have accepted a job offer, you will need to notify your employer — the Career Services Office/Public Service Center can work with you on how best to handle this. If you took a bar exam prep course, contact them as well, as they should have policies and programs in place to help you.
The MBE is a multiple choice exam that covers the following subjects: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property, and torts. All jurisdictions but Louisiana use the MBE.
What is the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE)?
It is a uniform battery of tests administered contemporaneously in every other jurisidiction that has adopted the UBE. It is written by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and consists of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). It is administered, graded, and scored by each user jurisdictions; it results in a portable score that can be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions (but see "Courtesy Seating" rules below).. Candidates must sit for all portions of the UBE in the same administration in the same jurisdiction to earn a portable UBE score. UBE jurisdictions set their own passing scores. UBE jurisdictions may require applicants to complete a jurisdiction-specific educational component and/or pass a test on jurisdiction-specific law in addition to passing the UBE. More information regarding the UBE, and a list of UBE-adopting states, is available at www.ncbex.org/exams/ube.
What is "Courtesy Seating" for the UBE?
Courtesy seating allows an applicant to sit for the UBE in the jurisdiction for geographical convenience without having the intention to seek admission in that jurisdiction, as long as the jurisdiction is satisfed that the applicant is a bona fde candidate for admission in another UBE jurisdiction. See Chart 6 of ABA Comprehensive Guidance here. Most UBE jurisdictions do not allow “courtesy seating,” so an applicant should be sure to understand what expectations the jurisdiction has of registrants to make them bona fide. Your prospecive employer can assist in choosing an appropriate jurisdiction based upon your personal connections and the scope of the employer's practice.
— Current as of May 2020