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Bar Exam

The University of Michigan Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association. Completion of U-M Law’s J.D. program satisfies educational prerequisites to licensure in all states and territories. However, students must also pass the bar exam, character and fitness evaluation, and all other non-educational licensure requirements specific to the jurisdiction where they wish to practice before becoming licensed to practice law.

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


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.

General FAQS


Q: If I receive disability-related accommodations for law school exams, will I get accommodations for the bar exam and MPRE?  How do I request bar exam and MPRE accommodations?

A: Each state has its own process, requirements, and timeline for reviewing and granting requests for accommodations.  The earlier you begin looking into a jurisdiction's process, the better.  The National Conference of Bar Examiners ("NCBE") addresses the MPRE accommodations process on a dedicated section of its website.  If, as part of these processes, you need someone to confirm your law school accommodations, please reach out to Dean Martí, as he can write a relevant letter or complete any required forms.


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 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.

Bar Certification Forms

Q: Where does my certification form go?

A: Documents relating  to your law school attendance, including Dean's Certifications, go to the Office of Student Records.  Most Character & Fitness forms are also completed through this office.  If collaboration between Law School offices is necessary, the Office of Student Records will organize this collaboration.  Make sure you understand and communicate the deadline for receipt of the form by your jurisdiction.

Q: I have questions about my bar forms.  Who should I ask?

A: The Office of Student Records can assist you with general questions.  For specific questions, it is recommended that  you contact your jurisdiction directly.  They will have the most updated information and resources.

Q: I have questions related to the Character and Fitness portion of the bar application.  Should I also go to the Office of Student Records?

A: If you have questions about Character and Fitness (e.g., disclosures, interpreting a particular question), you should make an appointment with the Office of Student Life.

Q: I have received my bar forms from my jurisdiction, but the deadline is a long way off.  Can I give the Office of Student Records the forms early?

A: Yes, please bring your bar forms as soon as you get them.  Dropping your form off early allows you to shorten your to-do list and allows us to confirm your bar jurisdiction.  The Office of Student Records will hold the applicable form until after you've graduated.  The forms are then completed by the Office of Student Records in order of jurisdiction deadline. 

Q: I'm graduating this term.  When will be education verification be sent?

A: Jurisdictions vary in the requirements for when your education can be verified.  Certification for jurisdictions requiring you to have completed all requirements necessary to graduate are completed when grades from your final term are posted.  Certification to states requiring you to have your degree in hand is completed after degrees are conferred.

Q: Does the Office of Student Records have copies of bar forms for my state?

A: No. You are responsible for delivering forms that you need to have filled out to the Office of Student Records.  If the form itself does not note the deadline, please include the deadline in your request.

Q: How will I know when my bar forms is sent?

A: If your form requires education certification and cannot be sent immediately, you will receive an email from the Office of Student Records once your completed form is sent. 

Q: How long does mailing take?

A: While some forms necessitate expedited mail service, forms are generally sent through USPS via institutional mail.  This process generally takes 7 - 10 business days from mailing to delivery.  Please plan accordingly when placing your form requests.

state specific faqs

New York

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.


The California Office of Admissions will send the forms to certify your graduation and character and fitness directly to the University of Michigan Law School.  The Office of Student Records will send final transcripts for students graduating at the end of the current term.  Prior term graduates must order their official transcript through the University of Michigan Registrar's Office.


Ohio requires an hour of instruction on substance abuse.  At this time, the University of Michigan Law School does not offer a specific course in substance abuse that fulfills the Ohio requirement.  To meet the requirement, you must individually complete an hour of training on substance abuse that has been accredited by the Ohio Commission on Continuing Legal Education.