Bar examination

From Academic Kids

A bar examination is an series of tests conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction.

United States

Bar examinations in the United States of America are generally administered by agencies of state governments-- the exception being the case of bar examinations that a person must pass as a requirement before being admitted to engage in the specialized practice of law before certain particular government agencies, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In the case of state bar examinations, the administrating agencies are usually an office of the state supreme court or a committee of the state bar association.

An examinee who has achieved the required minimum score is said to have "passed the bar" in that state. Note that this is not the same thing as having gained admission to the bar in that state although it is usually thought of as the most arduous stage in the process. If a person seeks to be admitted to the bar in multiple states, it is generally necessary for that person to take the bar examination of each of those states.

The state bar examination usually consists of the following:

Some jurisdictions, like California, also require a performance test as a more realistic measure of actual lawyering skill; the candidate is presented with a stack of documents representing a fictional case and is asked to draft a memorandum, motion, or opinion document. Many jurisdictions that include such a test, though not California, use the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

Bar examinations are usually held in late February and late July, in large convention centers. The timing of the bar exam is driven by the MBE, which is administered on the last Wednesday of both February and July. Only two states, Delaware and North Dakota, administer only one annual bar examination (July in both).

In most states, the bar examination takes only two days. A major exception, yet again, is California, which has a grueling three-day exam (along with one of the highest minimum score requirements and one of the lowest bar exam pass rates). Other states that administer three-day exams (some are organized as 2½-day exams) are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington. Bar examinations are generally administered on two or three consecutive days. The one exception is Louisiana, which gives its exam on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Louisiana, with a civil law system unique in the United States, has a pass rate that rivals California's.

Preparation for the bar examination

Law students usually engage in a grueling regime of study in the time between graduating from law school and sitting for the bar. The majority of American law students enroll in classes presented by a company called BarBri.

See also


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