Bar Admissions

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By the end of the first semester in law school, all students should investigate the process for admission to the Bar including the character and fitness qualifications in the jurisdiction in which they plan to practice. The bar admission process requires attention to detail, researched history of domicile and work, and accurate reporting of all matters relating to academic records and encounters with the legal system. Therefore it is important that students begin this process no later than the winter break after the first semester of one's legal education.

Application for Admission to the Bar

In order to begin the process, use a search engine to find the website for the jurisdiction where the Bar Examination is to be taken. Students may also visit this site which provides links to the governing bodies in the various states: www.barexam.org.

For students seeking admission to The Florida Bar, visit www.floridabarexam.org.

It is common practice that jurisdictions will grant significant reduction in bar application fees for those who make application during their first year in law school. For instance, in Florida, students who apply within 180 days of initial enrollment in law school will submit a student registration with a fee of $75.

Those who registered with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners as first-year students then convert their applications during the third year of law school and pay the final $375 fee. The Florida deadlines are November 15 for the February Bar Examination and May 1 for the July Bar Examination. These dates are subject to change, and the website for the Florida Board of Bar Examiners should be consulted for current rules governing admission to The Florida Bar.

Those who wait until their third year to initially apply for admission to The Florida Bar will pay the full $875 fee. First-year students who register with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners save $425.

The Bar Examination

In most jurisdictions, the Bar Examination is given on the last Tuesday and Wednesday in both February and July. The Bar Examination is given in some jurisdictions on Wednesday and Thursday, thereby making it possible for one to take two bar examinations concurrently. One should consult the website of each jurisdiction to see if concurrent testing is possible. If one sits for the Bar Examination concurrently in two different jurisdictions, the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE—Wednesday portion of the examination) may count toward admission in both states.

Some neighboring states offer reciprocity. Florida does not grant reciprocity, and those who elect to take the Bar Examination in Florida after being admitted in another jurisdiction must sit for the entire Bar Examination once again, including the Multistate portion of the examination they've already passed.

Most states require applicants to have completed all requirements for graduation before sitting for the Bar Examination. In Florida, for instance, if one takes the Bar Examination without having received the Juris Doctor degree, the score is impounded and eventually invalidated, and the test-taker may be called for an investigative hearing for violating the rules governing admission to the Bar.

What's on the Bar Examination?

The Multistate Bar Examination, given on the last Wednesday in February and in July, tests the following subjects:

  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Real Property
  • Torts
  • U.S. Constitutional Law

The Florida portion, given on the last Tuesday in February and in July, has questions taken from the following areas of Law:

  • Florida Constitutional Law
  • Florida Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure
  • Florida Rules of Judicial Administration (Rules 2.051, 2.060 and 2.160)
  • U.S. Constitutional Law
  • Chapters 4 & 5 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar
  • Business Entities (Corporations and Partnerships)
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Real Property
  • Torts
  • Trusts, Wills & Administration of Estates

Subjects tested vary in other jurisdictions. Consult the websites of the various jurisdictions in order to know what areas may be tested.

Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

Most jurisdictions also require the MPRE as part of the Bar admissions process. This examination is administered nationally by the National Conference of Bar Examiners in November, March and August. In some jurisdictions (e.g., Florida), one may take the MPRE while in law school and before one sits for the general Bar Examination after graduation.

Registration for the MPRE should be done in a timely manner as desired test sites may fill and require the test-taker to travel to a less convenient location.