State Bar Information
Bar Application Process Overview
During law school, a student evolves from educational consumer to legal professional. An important part of this transition is taking ownership of the professional obligations inherent in becoming and remaining a licensed attorney. Ownership includes, among other things,
(1) researching and understanding the unique licensure requirements of one’s jurisdiction,
(2) thoroughly reviewing and completing all necessary licensing forms in compliance with any applicable deadlines,
(3) communicating directly with the board of bar examiners in one’s jurisdiction to resolve any questions related to bar examination, licensing and continuing legal education (“CLE”) requirements,
(4) identifying, registering for and participating in appropriate programs to fulfill the CLE requirements in one’s jurisdiction and
(5) staying abreast of changing requirements in one’s jurisdiction and responding to those changes as required. To support its students and alumni in learning more about the unique requirements of each jurisdiction, Penn Law provides links to the following resources.
Rules vary dramatically from state to state, and you should carefully review the requirements of the board of bar examiners of the state in which you plan to sit for the bar.
In addition to the bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners and also linked from the State Bar Examiners Web Sites below.
Also, for a comprehensive guide to bar admission requirements in different states, click here.
There are Generally 5 Steps to Getting Licensed:
- Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam
- Bar Exam Application & Fee
- Character & Fitness Test
- Study, Take & Pass the Bar Exam itself
- Get Sworn in Before the Court!
State Bar Examiners Web Sites
All law students should continuously consult the Bar Examiners of the jurisdiction(s) of interest to them. First-year J.D. students may be able to reduce their fees by registering with certain Bars early in their law school careers. Upper class and LL.M. students should carefully observe all deadlines, fee payments, and other requirements for registering for and taking bar exams. Links to the bar examiner web sites are below.
If the bar to which you are applying requires that the Law School complete a form, please bring the form into the Registrar’s Office or send the form to the following address:
The Registrar’s Office
University of Pennsylvania Law School
3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6204
If the bar also requires that we submit a copy of your law school application or other pertinent information, please request this at the time of the submission of your bar form.
There is no fee for the completion of bar forms and supporting documents. However, if the bar requires an official copy of your transcript, you will need to include $10.00 (cash or check) for each transcript. Checks should be made payable to the “University of Pennsylvania.”
*NY BAR UPDATES:
Upon recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), the New York Court of Appeals adopted the UBE effective with the July 2016 administration of the New York State bar examination. The Advisory Committee also recommended, and the Court of Appeals adopted, a requirement that applicants for admission in New York be required to complete an online course on New York law and take and pass an online examination on New York law, as a requirement for admission. The report of the Advisory Committee is available on its website at http://www.nycourts.gov/ip/bar-exam/. For more details on the UBE, please visit the NYBOLE UBE page.
(1) NEW YORK LAW COURSE, COURSE MATERIALS AND FACULTY LIST WITH BIOS, AND NYLE SAMPLE QUESTIONS ARE NOW AVAILABLE.
UPDATED APRIL 5, 2016
As previously announced, in conjunction with the adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), the State Board of Law Examiners was directed by the Court of Appeals to create an online course, known as the New York Law Course (NYLC), and an online, open book exam on New York specific law, known as the New York Law Exam (NYLE).
The New York Law Course is now available. The first administration of the NYLE will be on May 26, 2016.
Applicants must complete the NYLC before they may register for the NYLE. The Board has prepared comprehensive Course Materials for the NYLC and NYLE.
Sample NYLE Questions are now available on this website at
MULTISTATE BAR UPDATES:
-The Multistate Bar Examination has recently made changes to the content of the exam effective with the February 2015 Exam. Please review these changes if you will be sitting for the Multistate Bar Examination this February or at a later date. October 2014 Memo (PDF).
- Effective with the February 2015 administration of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), a seventh content area - Civil Procedure - will be covered for the first time. Please review these changes prior to preparing for the MBE Exam if you plan to take the exam in February 2015 or later. February 2013 Memo (PDF).