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General Bar Exam Requirements and Information

Law school graduates must apply for admission to a state bar to obtain a license to practice law in that jurisdiction. The criteria for eligibility to take the bar examination or otherwise qualify for admission to a state’s bar are set by each state.  The criteria for eligibility for each state can be found on the website of the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Character and Fitness

In addition to a bar examination, there are character and fitness requirements, and other qualifications that must be satisfied before a jurisdiction will admit an applicant to a state bar.  Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction directly.  Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners. If you have questions about character and fitness, ask the Associate Dean, the Director of Bar Examination Preparation Services, or the bar examiners in the state where you intend to take the bar exam.  

Massachusetts Bar Applicants

Massachusetts law limits the questions that may be asked on the law school application.  As a result, bar examiners may ask moral character and fitness questions that go well beyond those that were asked on the New England Law school application. The same may be true for other states.

For specific information required by New England Law | Boston for certification to take a bar examination.

Students who plan to take the bar exam in Massachusetts may download requirements and application materials at Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners. Currently, applicants must have taken and passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) before being eligible to apply to take the exam in Massachusetts. Graduates from New England Law | Boston are automatically certified by the Registrar’s office to take the bar exam in Massachusetts. 

Other Bar Admission Requirements

Competence is ordinarily established by a showing that the applicant holds an acceptable educational credential (ordinarily, a J.D. degree) from a law school, such as New England Law, that meets certain educational standards, and by achieving a passing score on the bar examination.

Bar examinations are administered at the end of February and July.  The most common bar-testing configuration consists of a two or three-day examination. One day of testing is devoted to the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), a multiple choice test. The second day of testing is devoted to essays. In some states, a third day of testing (or a portion of the second day) may include the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). For additional information about law school courses that may particularly help prepare for the bar exam, visit Law School Courses to Help Prepare for the Bar Examination.

A growing number of states administer the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which is a combination of the MBE, Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), and Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

In addition, almost all jurisdictions require that applicants pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). 

For additional information about the bar exam, visit General Bar Exam Information.

New York has particular skills and pro bono requirements.  For information on these, visit Applying to take the New York Bar Exam.  For details on other states’ requirements see the National Conference of Bar Examiners website.

For additional information about preparing to graduate and taking the bar exam, visit the Bar Exam Planning Checklist.