Generally a two-day exam. Day 1: Each particular state bar's part of the exam; Day 2: Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), 200-question, multiple-choice exam.
Multistate Bar Exam (MBE): Constitutional Law, Contracts/Sales, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, Torts.
For subjects tested on each state's part of the exam, please check the website for the state whose bar exam you will be taking. (Links to these sites appear below.) We have included below some specific information for Michigan Bar takers.
The MPRE is a two-hour-and-five-minute test consisting of 50 multiple-choice questions administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). The MPRE tests 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. There are application deadlines for each administration of the examination. If you miss the initial deadline, the application fee rises from $70 to $140.
One nice thing about the MPRE is that, unlike the bar exam, you can take it in any state and have your score submitted to another state. In fact, you do not even need to know where you will be taking the bar exam when you take the MPRE. Your score can be transferred at a later date.
Michigan requires passage of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam.
Applicants who wish to submit their information to the State Bar of Michigan Character and Fitness Division can do so online. Bar applications and information on how to complete them can be accessed in a downloadable, usable format. Applicants will no longer have to pay a fee for the kit. To access this feature, go to: http://www.michbar.org/professional/barexam.cfm.
The Michigan Bar exam is a two-day exam. Day 1: 15 essay questions. Day 2: Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), 200 question, multiple-choice exam.
Agency, Commercial Paper, Conflict of Laws, Corporations, Creditors' Rights, Equity, Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Domestic Relations, Insurance (no-fault), Partnerships, Personal Property, Practice and Procedure (State and Federal), Sales, Secured Transactions, Wills & Trusts, Workers' Compensation, plus all MBE subjects.
Third-year students must file a Bar Exam Application Form before taking the Bar Exam. The application must be filed some time in late October or early November for the February exam and by late February or early March for the July exam. Late application accepted until mid-December and mid-March, respectively with a late fee assessed. These forms are delivered to the Office of Student Records at the Law School by the Michigan Bar in late January for the July exam, and in late September for the February exam. Please check the State Bar of Michigan's webpage for exact dates.
After the Michigan Bar determines your eligibility to sit for this exam, they will mail a Law School Certificate to the Office of Student Records for verification.
Certification by the Registrar involves confirming that you have been awarded the JD degree. Graduating students are certified after all grades are received for their final semester, i.e., in January for the February Bar and in June for the July Bar.
If you are taking the Bar in a state other than Michigan, then please check with that particular jurisdiction for application materials and deadlines. In some states, you pay a much lower fee for applying far in advance, so it is advisable to learn about application deadlines as soon as you know which state’s exam you will be taking. Every state has certification paperwork which the Office of Student Records must complete before you sit for the exam. Please make sure you submit this paperwork to us in Room 300 Hutchins Hall as early as possible to ensure that we have enough time to process it. Please note that our normal processing time for paperwork is 48-hours.
Please note that each jurisdiction has different application requirements, some of which are even implicated during your first year as a law student. (See, for example, California.) We recommend that you start gathering information about bar application requirements early on; it could save you money.
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 for our web site. A brief description of those requirements can be found here. For a complete set of the New York BOLE's eligibility rules, visit its web site, the link to which appears in the chart above.
Every state bar application process includes a character and fitness component. At the link below is an article published by 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. Please be sure to check with the state bar officials in the state to which you are applying for specific details about their character and fitness process.
Important General Information About Character and Fitness
Unraveling the Mystery of the Character and Fitness Process
Why Getting Professional Help During Law School Won't Prevent You From Getting a License To Practice Law
Each fall, the Student Affairs and Career Planning Offices co-sponsor an informational meeting about the bar examination and related issues. You can access the information sheet from the most recent meeting here and a recording of the most recent meeting here.
You can find the most recent bar passage information for Michigan Law graduates here. This information is updated each fall to include data from the most recent year.
The following websites have information about bar examinations, including contact information for the boards of law examiners in most jurisdictions:
The American Bar Association
The National Conference of Bar Examiners