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Encyclopedia > Bar examination

A bar examination is an examination to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction. Lady Justice or Justitia is a personification of the moral force that underlies the legal system (particularly in Western art). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


United States

Passing the bar exam is typically only one of several steps for being licensed to practice law. For more information on the complete process, see admission to the bar in the United States. In the United States, admission to the bar is permission granted by a particular court system to a lawyer to practice law in that system. ...

Bar examinations in the United States are administered by agencies of individual states. The state agency is invariably associated with the judicial branch of government, because American attorneys are all officers of the court of the bar(s) to which they belong. Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  Politics Portal      A U.S. state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of the... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...

Sometimes the agency is an office or committee of the state's highest court or intermediate appellate court. In some states which have a unified or integrated bar association (meaning that formal membership in a public corporation controlled by the judiciary is required to practice law therein), the agency is either the state bar association or a subunit thereof. Other states split the integrated bar membership and the admissions agency into different bodies within the judiciary; in Texas, the Board of Law Examiners is appointed by the Texas Supreme Court and is independent from the integrated State Bar of Texas. A public benefit corporation is usually a government-owned corporation that performs a specific, narrow function for the public good. ... The U.S. state of Texas has two courts of last resort: the Texas Supreme Court, which is the highest state appellate court for civil matters (including juvenile delinquency, which the law considers to be a civil matter and not criminal) and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest... The U.S. state of Texas has two courts of last resort: the Texas Supreme Court, which is the highest state appellate court for civil matters (including juvenile delinquency, which the law considers to be a civil matter and not criminal) and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest... The State Bar of Texas (the Texas Bar) is an agency of the judiciary under the administrative control of the Texas Supreme Court. ...

In almost all jurisdictions, the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), an ethics exam, is also administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), which creates it and grades it. The MPRE is offered three times a year, in March, August and November. The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is a two-hour multiple-choice examination designed to measure the knowledge and understanding of established standards related to a lawyers professional conduct. ... The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) is US based non-profit organization that develops the Multistate Bar Examination and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, as well as many other stardardized tests for lawyers. ...

The bar examination in most U.S. states and territories is two days long and consists of:

  • Essay questions:
    • Essentially all jurisdictions administer several such questions that test knowledge of general legal principles, and may also test knowledge of the state's own law (usually subjects such as wills, trusts and community property, which always vary from one state to another). Some jurisdictions choose to use the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), drafted by the NCBE, for this purpose. Others may draft their own questions with this goal in mind, while some states both draft their own questions and use the MEE.
    • Some jurisdictions administer complicated questions that specifically test knowledge of that state's law.
  • The Multistate Bar Examination, a standardized, multiple-choice examination created and sold to participating state bar examiners by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The MBE contains 200 questions which test six subjects based upon principles of common law and Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (covering sales of goods) that apply throughout the United States.

A majority of U.S. jurisdictions also require a performance test as a more realistic measure of actual lawyering skill; the candidate is presented with a stack of documents representing a fictional case and is asked to draft a memorandum, motion, or opinion document. Many jurisdictions use the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), while California drafts and administers its own performance tests. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) is a collection of essay questions administered as a part of the bar examination in 19 jurisdictions[1] of the United States. ... The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is a six-hour, two-hundred question multiple-choice examination covering contracts, torts, constitutional law, criminal law, evidence, and real property. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC or the Code) is one of a number of uniform acts that have been promulgated in conjunction with efforts to harmonize the law of sales and other commercial transactions in 49 states (all except Louisiana) within the United States of America. ... The performance test or PT is a section of the bar exam that is intended to mimic a real-life legal task that future lawyers may face. ... A memorandum or memo is a written form of communication most often employed in business environments. ... This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is a written examination administered as a part of the bar examination in 33 jurisdictions[1] of the United States. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Largest metro area Greater Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ...

When exams occur

Each state controls when it administers its bar exam. Because the MBE is a standardized test, it must be administered on the same day across the country. That day occurs twice a year as the last Wednesday in July and the last Wednesday in February. Two states, Delaware and North Dakota, administer their bar exams only once, in July, since they do not have enough applicants to merit a second sitting. Most bar exams are administered on consecutive days. Louisiana is the exception, administering its three-day examination on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Also, Louisiana's examination is the longest in the country in terms of examination time, with 7 hours on each day for a total of 21 hours. Capital Dover Largest city Wilmington Area  Ranked 49th  - Total 2,491 sq mi (6,452 km²)  - Width 30 miles (48 km)  - Length 100 miles (161 km)  - % water 21. ... Official language(s) English Capital Bismarck Largest city Fargo Area  Ranked 19th  - Total 70,762 sq mi (183,272 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 340 miles (545 km)  - % water 2. ... Official language(s) de jure: none de facto: English & French Capital Baton Rouge Largest city New Orleans [1] Area  Ranked 31st  - Total 51,885 sq mi (134,382 km²)  - Width 130 miles (210 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 16  - Latitude 29°N to 33°N  - Longitude 89°W...

The MEE and MPT, as uniform though not standardized tests, also must be administered on the same day across the country — specifically the day before the MBE.

All examinees must be present in person, and most states have strict guidelines about what people may take into the examination room, what they may wear during the exam, and when test takers may leave their seats for any reason.

Preparation for the exam

Most law schools prefer to teach students "how to think like a lawyer" but do not prepare law students for any particular bar exam. As one Harvard-trained lawyer put it: Harvard Law School (colloquially, Harvard Law or HLS) is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. ...

While I may have learned how to 'think like a lawyer' at Harvard, I had few concrete thoughts. I did not know, for example, the different degrees of murder, and for how many years in prison one could be sentenced for each. I did not know when a contract had to be in writing and when it could be oral. I did not know when a bank was liable for a forged check. In short, I knew about Law but did not know the laws.[1]

Therefore, to learn the "black-letter rules" actually tested on the bar, most students engage in a regimen of study (called "bar review") between graduating from law school and sitting for the bar.[2] Bar review is considered by many to be one of the most stressful and unpleasant experiences which a law student faces before becoming a lawyer.

England and Wales

In England and Wales, the series of exams taken to become a barrister is sometimes known as bar finals or Bar Exams/Examinations. // Artists impression of an English and Irish barrister A barrister is a lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions which employ a split profession (as opposed to a fused profession) in relation to legal representation. ...

Nowadays these exams are usually taken as part of the Bar Vocational Course at establishments such as the College of Law. This does not cite its references or sources. ... The College of Law (CoL) is a registered charity in the United Kingdom which provides legal training for students and professionals. ...

See barrister for further information about qualifying in England and Wales. // Artists impression of an English and Irish barrister A barrister is a lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions which employ a split profession (as opposed to a fused profession) in relation to legal representation. ...


In Brazil, there is a bar examination that occurs in each State in March, August and December. These examinations are organized by Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil, the Brazilian Bar association. The Order of Attorneys of Brazil (or the Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil) is the Brazilian Bar association, founded in 1930. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


In Hungary the Bar Examination is called "Jogi Szakvizsga", can be translated as "Legal Profession Examination". This exam is composed of 3 parts: 1. Criminal Law, Criminal Procedural Law and Penal Law 2. Civil Law, Civil Procedural Law and Economy Law 3. Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Law of the European Union. After passing these exams the candidate can be a barrister or secretary at the court or at the public prosecutor's office or legal executive or may operate individually at any field of law.


Arguments against the bar exam

A statement by the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) articulates many criticisms of the bar exam. The SALT statement, however, does propose some alternative methods of bar admission that are partially test-based. The statement can be found at http://www.saltlaw.org/positionbarexam.htm. This statement was also published in 54 JOURNAL OF LEGAL EDUCATION 442–458.

Arguments in favor of the bar exam

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) regularly provides articles relating to the bar examination process. Typically, they are in favor of it. To see a general collection of the articles available, go to:


Arguments for alternatives to the bar exam

The NCBE published an article in 2005 addressing alternatives to the bar exam, including a discussion of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program, an alternate certification program introduced at Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire in that year. The article can be found at: Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire The Franklin Pierce Law Center (Pierce Law or FPLC) is a private, American Bar Association approved law school, located in Concord, New Hampshire. ... Official language(s) English Capital Concord Largest city Manchester Area  Ranked 46th  - Total 9,359 sq mi (24,239 km²)  - Width 68 miles (110 km)  - Length 190 miles (305 km)  - % water 3. ...


See also

This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The National Judicial Exam or State Judicial Exam (国家司法考试) is a unified legal exam administered in the Peoples Republic of China. ...


  1. ^ Cameron Stracher, Double Billing: A Young Lawyer's Tale of Greed, Sex, Lies, and the Pursuit of a Swivel Chair (New York: William Morrow, 1998), 15.
  2. ^ Mark E. Steiner, "International Conference on Legal Education Reform: Cram Schooled," 24 Wis. Int'l L.J. 377, 392 (2006). This article contrasts American bar review courses against the 18-month cram schools used in Japan, Germany, Korea, and Taiwan, and argues that the short length of American bar review is due to the superior pedagogical methods of American law schools and the American tradition of relatively easy access to the legal profession (in comparison to most countries).

  Results from FactBites:
NJ Bar Examination-News & Updates (674 words)
Since the Supreme Court revised the grading of the bar examination in 1992 to have the essay scores scaled to the MBE scaled score, the MBE has constituted 35% of the final grade and essays 65%.
Experts at the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) have reported that a bar examination's reliability (that is, the presence of consistency across multiple administrations) can be improved by giving greater weight to the MBE up to approximately 65%.
The NJ Board of Bar Examiners is approved for reimbursement under the GI Bill.
Texas Southern University  > Student Affairs > Acacemic Support > BAR EXAMINATION PREPARATION PROGRAM (700 words)
Bar Orientation Class – designed to help students familiarize themselves with all sections of the Texas Bar Exam.
The workshop will address what the bar examiners are looking for, how to write an essay exam, and how to get the maximum point for your essay exam answer.
BAR Mentorship Program - TMSL Alumni are called upon to help mentor those students that are taking the Bar exam in Texas.
  More results at FactBites »



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