Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content


Bar Exam

For up-to-date information specific to your intended bar jurisdiction, please use the jurisdiction directory maintained by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). NCBE is a service organization providing standardized examinations to nearly every jurisdiction in the United States. Learn more about all NCBE Exams at their official website.

General Information

Format:

Generally a two-day examination process.

  • Day 1: Jurisdiction-specific exam component(s).
  • Day 2: Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), 200-question, multiple-choice exam.

For jurisdiction-specific components of the exam, please refer to the jurisdiction's bar administration website, which can be found through NCBE's jurisdiction directory.

Multistate Bar Exam (MBE):

The MBE is a six-hour, 200-question multiple-choice exam administered on the last Wednesday in February and July of each year.

Tested subject matter includes the following: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.

Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE):

The MPRE is a two-hour-and-five-minute exam administered by NCBE, which consists of 60 multiple-choice questions testing your knowledge and understanding of the ethical standards of the legal profession. Most jurisdictions require passage of the MPRE in order to be admitted to practice.

The vast majority of states allow students to take the MPRE before graduation from law school. A law school course in ethics is not crucial to your success on the MPRE. The exam is offered nationwide each March, August, and November, and most students take the exam sometime after their second year of law school.

Unlike the bar exam, you can take the MPRE in any state and have your score submitted to another state at a later date.

Bar Information Meeting

Each fall, the Student Life and Career Planning offices co-sponsor an informational meeting about the bar examination and related issues.

Character and Fitness

Every jurisdiction's bar admissions process contains some type of Character & Fitness review, which will require full disclosure of past conduct relevant to one’s fitness to practice law. In most jurisdictions, this includes (but is not limited to) all criminal arrests, charges, plea agreements, convictions, or instances of being taken into custody as a juvenile or adult; all traffic violations except minor parking citations; involvement as a party to civil litigation; acts of fraud, dishonesty, or lack of candor; educational discipline or misconduct; failure to meet financial obligations; and substance abuse. Many jurisdictions require full disclosure even in cases where the record has been expunged.

A failure to truthfully, accurately, and completely respond to a character and fitness inquiry is commonly deemed a character and fitness violation in and of itself, and may be more detrimental to bar admission prospects than the undisclosed or incorrectly disclosed underlying conduct.

Included in the links below is an article from the State Bar of Michigan Character and Fitness Department, which describes the character and fitness process in Michigan. Although this process does vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the article contains some information that will be helpful to understanding this process in other states.

New York Bar-Special Requirements

In April 2012, the New York Board of Law Examiners implemented some changes to its requirements for eligibility to sit for the New York bar. As over one-third of our JD graduates join the New York bar, we want to make sure to highlight these new requirements in relation to your academic career at the Law School. For a complete set of the New York BOLE's eligibility rules, please navigate to their website via NCBE's jurisdiction directory.

FAQS

Fingerprints

Q: Where can I obtain fingerprinting services near campus for my bar application?

A: Washtenaw County Sherriff’s Office (WCSO) offers fingerprinting services for a fee.

U-M Department of Public Safety & Security (DPSS) also offers fingerprinting services. Call 734.763.3434 to schedule an appointment. You will need a driver's license, U-M student ID, and a fingerprinting card (which can be obtained from WCSO or the Law School's Office of Student Life) .

Driving Records

Q: How do I obtain certified driving records for my bar application?

A: Request your driving records directly from the state DMV where you lived or were licensed. Visit DMV.org for aggregated DMV information.

Notary Service

Q: Where can I notarize documents for my bar application?

A: The Office of Student Records provides notary services to U-M Law students.