Office of Student Affairs
Bar Exam Information
Links to the websites for other states’ bar examiners can be found at the Office of the Registrar's website.
- State Bar Exam. 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. Beware, though, 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.
- 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. Applications for the exam are available at http://www.ncbex.org/multistate-tests/mpre/. 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.
BarBri generally offers a free MPRE review course to Stanford Law School students for the November exam.
- Moral Character Determination. 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.
- Fingerprinting. 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.
- State Bar Admission Requirements 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.
- Special Requirements for Advanced Degree Students on the New York Bar Exam. The New York State Board of Law Examiners currently requires foreign students who obtain an LLM or JSM in the United States to complete two courses in "basic American law." (See attached list of courses at Stanford Law School that have been approved by NY BOLE.) Please note that if you plan to take the New York bar exam in July 2013 or thereafter, the requirements will be stricter. New York will require that you complete: 3 quarter units of Introduction to American Law (or Constitutional Law); 3 quarter units of professional responsibility/legal ethics; 3 quarter units of legal research, writing and analysis; a minimum of 8 quarter units of subjects tested on New York bar exam; and no more than 8 quarter units of coursework outside the Law School.
- Further Information. For further information on the California and New York bar exams, contact:
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
- Courses tested on the California and New York Bar Exams
- The National Conference of Bar Examiners publishes an annual guide to bar admission requirements in the various states. You can find it by going to: http://www.ncbex.org/