Bar Exam Information
Most states administer the bar exam twice a year, the last week of February and the last week of July, with applications due approximately 4 months prior to the exam. Some states have earlier deadlines. Below you will find a link to a list of all the state bar examiners in the country. Please check the state in which you plan to practice for its rules and deadlines.
Most law school graduates take the July exam. Most states do not permit anyone to sit for the bar exam who has not actually graduated from law school.
In addition to registering for the exam, some states (including CA) require you to register as a law student, which, of course, entails an extra fee. Many California law schools urge their students to register as 1Ls because they know their students will practice in California. Since so many of our students do not practice in this state, and since there is no late fee, we wait until your last year to urge you to register. California urges you to register before taking the MPRE.
Most states (including CA and NY) require the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam). The MPRE is administered in November, March, and August of each year. The cost is $70. This two-hour and five minute exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. It is much easier than the regular bar exam.
Most states (including CA and NY) require you to apply for a moral character determination. The California application form itself is quite lengthy and calls for a lot of historical information from you. In California, the processing time can range anywhere from 4 – 10 months because it entails checking references going back many years; so, we recommend that you complete the form this semester or soon thereafter. If you delay in filing this application, you run the risk that you may be ineligible to be sworn in next December. New York moral character determinations are done after you take the bar exam.
Many states (including CA) require fingerprints as part of the bar application. California now requires you to submit fingerprints through the live scan system. You can do this at the Stanford Department of Public Safety, 711 Serra Street, Monday through Friday, by appointment only. To get an appointment, call 650 723.9633.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners publishes an annual guide to bar admission requirements in the various states. In addition, the Jurist website, run by the University of Pittsburgh, also contains a list and general bar exam information.
The New York State Board of Law Examiners requires foreign students who obtain an LLM or JSM in the United States to complete:
- 3 quarter units of Introduction to American Law
- 3 quarter units of Professional Responsibility
- 3 quarter units of legal research, writing and analysis
- a minimum of 8 quarter units of subjects tested on New York bar exam
See list of Stanford Law School courses approved by NYBOLE as meeting these requirements.
State Bar Certifications
The Office of the Registrar will certify enrollment, degree verification, and moral character certifications for State Bar. Enrollment Certification & Degree Verification for requests other than State Bar certifications must be made through Axess. Students without Axess accounts can order proof of past enrollment or verification of a degree from the Student Services Center.
Please submit the SLS Authorization for the Release of Records for State Bar Exam Form or for other Bar requests, the State Bar Certification Request Form along with detailed instructions for your request. Please contact the Office of the Registrar at (650) 723-0994 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Transcripts are available from the Office of the University Registrar via Axess.
State Bar Links
The National Conference of Bar Examiners publishes an annual guide to bar admission requirements in the various states.
California State Bar
Office of Admissions
845 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017-2515
Los Angeles: 213 765.1000
San Francisco: 415 538.2000
New York Bar
State Board of Law Examiners
Building 3 – Corporate Plaza
254 Washington Avenue Extension
Albany, NY 12203-5195