Every state requires an individual to be licensed in order to practice law. Each state has different requirements for licensure; almost all require an applicant to pass a general examination for competence, pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, and establish his or her moral character and fitness for practice.

Students planning to practice in states other than California should consult the individual admissions requirements of those states. A list of state admissions offices is available at  Most individual state bar websites can also be located by searching the Internet for “Bar Exam [state name]”.

The following information applies to those intending to practice law in California. Students should review the summary and detailed requirements for California Bar admissions at

During the First Year

All law students who plan to take the California Bar Exam must register with the Committee of Bar Examiners within 90 days of beginning law study. Students who fail to register will not be allowed to sit for the Bar Exam. Registration forms are available on the State Bar of California website,

During the Second Year

Students transferring to SCU from a California law school must notify the Committee of Bar Examiners within 90 days after beginning law study. Students transferring to SCU from a laschool outside of California must register as law students with the Committee of Bar Examiners within 90 days after beginning law study. Registration forms are available on the State Bar of California website, .

During the Third or Fourth Year

Students should submit applications for their moral character review at least 9 months before their intended examination date, to allow time for any needed follow up. Applications for the moral character determination are available on the State Bar of California website. The moral character investigation is a separate process from the Bar Exam (separate forms, fees, and deadlines).


Students must take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) to be admitted to most state bars, including California. The MPRE is given every August, November, and March or April with regular registration deadlines about two months before the test dates. We recommend planning to take this exam after completion of the Legal Profession course in the second or third year, although students have successfully taken the exam concurrent with enrollment in Legal Profession. Applications are available from the National Conference of Bar Examiners at

Students should also apply to take the Bar Exam. The California Bar Exam is currently administered over a two-day period.  Applications are due approximately four months before each test date, and are available on the State Bar of California website. Students may not take the Bar Exam until they have graduated from the School of Law. The law school will not certify a student to sit for a state Bar Exam unless he or she has completed the requirements for the J.D. by or before the semester preceding the administration of the examination. Any student who takes any bar examination before satisfactorily completing all requirements for the J.D. degree will not be permitted to graduate.

The State Bar administers an exam called the First-Year Law Students’ Exam, also known as the “Baby Bar.”  This exam is required for law students who attend some California law schools, but not Santa Clara Law. The only Santa Clara students required to take the First-Year Law Students’ Exam are those seeking readmission after having academically disqualified at the end of the first year.

For additional information, please refer to and

For More Information

Questions concerning admission to the California Bar not answered on the State Bar of California website,, should be directed to the Committee of Bar Examiners at 415-538-2300.

The Law School offers a bar preparation course, Advanced Legal Writing: The Bar Exam, available to students in their final semester before graduating. All students are strongly encouraged to enroll in this course.

The Office of Academic & Bar Success faculty offer programming and provide counseling to students seeking assistance with Bar Exam preparation, and serve as liaisons to the commercial Bar preparation companies. The Office and the Heafey Law Library have many resources and practice tests for Bar Exam preparation. The Office maintains a bulletin board on the second floor of Bannan, a Resource Room in BH 230-H, and information about the Bar Exam and Bar preparation online at