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.”
- New York Skills Competency & Professional Values Requirement: The addition of Section 520.18 to New York’s Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law requires that all JDs applying to the New York bar who began their programs of study after August 1, 2016 (i.e. JDs graduating in May 2019 and later), and all LLMs applying to the New York bar who began their programs of study after August 1, 2018 (i.e. LLMs graduating in May 2019 and later), complete a skills competency component. There are five potential ways for applicants to satisfy this requirement. Penn Law will certify graduates who have successfully completed the components detailed on the attached document as satisfying the skills competency requirement under Section 520.18(a)(1), which is commonly referred to as “Pathway One”.
- New York Law Course and New York Law Exam: 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 (NYLC) and take and pass an online examination on New York law (NYLE) as a requirement for admission. Applicants must complete the NYLC before they may register for the NYLE. The Board has prepared comprehensive course materials for the NYLC and NYLE. Additional information is available here.
- Uniform Bar Exam: Please click here to learn more about the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and to review the list of jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE.