March 5, 2010

Bar Exam Resources

Applying to take a bar exam?

The best resource for information regarding the bar is exam is The American Bar Association Section On Legal Education and Admission to the Bar's Annual Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements.

Since there are specific requirements and waive-in/reciprocity rules for each state, we encourage you visit the state or states website for more information. Here is a directory of Bar Admission Offices. Know that these offices are very approachable and welcome your questions; please don't hesitate the contact them directly.


January 26, 2009

Where can I get a fingerprint card for my bar application?

Go to the Minneapolis Crime Lab for your fingerprint card.

December 22, 2008

New NY State Bar Exam Rules

New NY State Bar Exam Rules

The New York State Board of Law Examiners recently revised certain rules, policies, and deadlines that are effective immediately and will impact graduates planning to take the February or July 2009 New York State Bar Examination.

Go here to view the new rules.

Thanks to our friends at Touro Law School.

December 10, 2008

100 Multistate Bar Exam Questions AND ANSWERS - $26.00

As a careful reader of BAR EXAMINER, the journal of the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, I note that the National Council of Bar Examiners has provided a handy tool for bar candidates.

For $26, you get online access to 100 Multistate questions with answers annotated by actual bar exam drafters. "Purchasing this item gives you a subscription for online access to the exam, for unlimited trials, expiring one year after the date of purchase. You can take the exam in either timed or untimed sittings, and you will receive feedback on your answers, including annotations and a customized score report. As this product is only available online, you will not receive any materials by mail."

December 2, 2008

Don't Let This Post Stress You Out: Failing the Bar Exam

Just in case you're in this predicament, check out this posting from the 'On Being a Black Lawyer" site:

How Do I Recover From Failing My Bar Exam?

This posting offers good advice for everyone in this situation.


May 5, 2008

12 tips for taking a bar exam and 1 Post-Bar Exam Bonus Tip

1. Do not bring a cell phone or pager to the exam. If you must bring an electronic device, turn the ringer off. Failure to do this may cause you to lose your test-taking privileges as it did for some as far back as the July 2003 Illinois Bar.

2. Bring more pens and pencils than you can imagine needing.

3. If you are using a laptop, bring two of every peripheral thing that you might need.

4. Rent a nearby hotel room. If you live more than 15 minutes from the test site or you have to travel through anything resembling Minnesota's Summer Road Construction or Winter Weather, consider renting a nearby hotel room.

5. Bring two watches to keep your time, even if you remember putting a new battery into your favorite watch during the last year. If you don't know the trick of setting your watch for every test period at 12:00, your Bar Review reps will tell you about it.

6. Folks with "bad vibes." Stay away from the people who are flipping pages in The Uniform Commercial Code while walking toward the testing room. Really. By that time, it's too late.

7. Exam Graders are human #1: If you are writing the test, write legibly and follow directions. If you are told to write on one side of the paper, do it. If you are instructed to skip every other line, do so.

8. Exam Graders are human #2: If you are typing, remember that Spelchek isn't Thought Check and that at the very important level of getting your point across, grammar may matter.

9. Bar Exam Graders are one of the last two stops on the road to Bar Admission, and they can refer you back to the Character and Fitness Committee if they find something on your exam that calls your character or judgement into question. Under no circumstance should you swear at the Bar Examiners in your answer.

10. Don't Discuss. There will be people gathered during the breaks discussing the questions they just answered. Avoid these discussions. Someone whose study habits are unknown to you is not the person from whom you need a review of a Property question.

11. Don't Fret. Don't not be too concerned about the question that generates wildly different opinions about the substantive issues tested. Every bar exam has one of those questions, and you will have the rest of your professional life to speculate about the answers. (Note from the July 1984 test: Was it privacy or some kind of criminal question? We still don't know.)

12. Eat. Go out for dinner after the first test day. Eat well, have a small glass of wine, go home (or back to your hotel), flip through your flash cards or your outline, and go to sleep.

13. Take a break after the exam. Go somewhere. Sit by a lake. See a movie. Have some fun.

November 26, 2007

Illinois Bar Consideration

If you are even considering taking the Illinois bar, you must carefully parse the state's rules about timing for taking the MPRE. If you take it too soon, you will have to retake it.

The operative language is at
: An Illinois applicant must have earned the lesser of 60 credit hours or two thirds of the credits required to obtain a JD degree from his or her law school before sitting for the MPRE; for most applicants, this means that the MPRE may have been written no sooner than August preceding commencement of the final year of law school. No exceptions to these requirements are made.

From Susan Gainen

June 7, 2006

True Confessions (or "Do I Really Need to Tell Them About That?")

Bar examiners and prospective employers are increasingly asking for more information about your past as part of their "due diligence" before either certifying you for practice or hiring you as a permanent employee. Recent lapses in background verification, such as one well-publicized event at a local Twin Cities law firm, have raised warning flags for bar examiners and hiring authorities throughout the legal community. In addition, law schools are often asked by bar certification authorities for copies of an applicant's previous application to law school to compare with the paperwork submitted in support of bar admission. Discrepancies can get you in trouble with both the bar and your law school.

What to do? Our blanket advice is simple: "When in doubt, disclose." None of us has a completely pristine past and, for the most part, except for felony convictions, what happened when you were a rambunctious junior in high school won't keep you from the job of your dreams. That said, if there is anything that you think would give a reasonable person pause before allowing you to represent clients and collect a pay check, say so early on. At a minimum, you will be able to begin to address any concerns, apparent or real, that might preclude you from practicing law well in advance. You will also appear responsible, mature and, yes, professional. If you need background documentation, collect it before you disclose so that you can quickly provide answers to requests for more information. If you cannot obtain such documentation, explain as much about the circumstances as possible in detail, as well as why you can't provide paperwork at this time.

Finally, remember that, until you are admitted to the bar or officially hired, you are usually under a continuing duty to disclose information. In other words, if you get arrested the night before the bar exam on a DUI charge, you better let someone at the board of law examiners know, however embarrassing that may seem.

May 24, 2006

What must I do to be admitted to practice?

It depends on the state, and you can find a list of boards of law examiners and state-by-state rules from the ABA Section on Legal Education & Admission to the Bar's Annual Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission.

But really -- what do I have to do?

Bar Review: Bar Reviews are commercial services that instruct their customers on substantive law and test-taking techniques. Study options expand with advances in technology, and there are live, video, audio cassette, podcast, and book-only options. Although BarBri and PMBR are the dominant vendors, there are others in jurisdictions outside of Minnesota. Bar review is expensive, but most people consider it an investment.

Register with the State's Bar Examiners Some states require a registration that is different from signing up to take the bar exam, so check the rules. There is a charge for this process. Minnesota does not require pre-registration.

Apply (and pay the fee) to take the bar exam The application will be long and detailed. You will be asked a series of questions addressing 10+ years of residence, academic, credit and criminal history, and you may be required to produce documents relating to litigation. Get right with your creditors and pay your taxes. Consider each question and respond in the spirit of fullest disclosure. A significant fee will accompany your application.

Apply for a character and fitness review. The character and fitness review may be part of the bar application or, as in the case of California, it may be a separate process with its own significant fee.

Continue reading "What must I do to be admitted to practice?" »