Every state requires an individual to be licensed as an attorney to practice law. This is a separate process from graduating from law school. Each state has different requirements for licensure; almost all require an applicant to pass a general Bar examination, and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
In addition to a 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.
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 from the National Conference of Bar Examiner’s website at http://www.ncbex.org. 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 http://calbar.ca.gov/admissions.
During the First Year
All law students attending law school in California must register with the State Bar of California within 90 days of beginning law study. The registration form is available on the State Bar of California website at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Requirements.
During the Second Year
Students transferring to SCU from another law school must notify the State Bar of California within 90 days after beginning law study. The registration form is available on the State Bar of California website at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Requirements.
During the Third or Fourth Year
Students should submit applications for their moral character review at least 9 months before their intended California Bar Exam date, to allow time for any needed follow up. The moral character investigation is a separate process from taking the California Bar Exam (separate forms, fees, and deadlines). The application for the moral character determination is available on the State Bar of California website at https://www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Moral-Character.
MPRE: Students must take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) to be admitted to practice law in most states, including California. The MPRE is given every August, November, and March with regular registration deadlines about two months before the test dates. We recommend planning to take this exam after completion of Professional Responsibility course in the second or third year, although students have successfully taken the exam concurrent with enrollment in Professional Responsibility. Applications are available from the National Conference of Bar Examiners at http://www.ncbex.org/exams/mpre/.
California Bar Exam: Students must also apply to take the California Bar Exam. The California Bar Exam is currently administered over a two-day period at the end of February and July. Applications are due approximately four months before each test date, and are available on the State Bar of California website at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Examinations/California-Bar-Examination.
Baby Bar: The State Bar of California also 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
For More Information
Questions concerning admission to practice in California not answered on the State Bar of California’s website at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions, should be directed to the State Bar Office of Admissions at 415-538-2300.
The Office of Academic & Bar Success offers courses, programming, and counseling to prepare students for the Bar Exam and serves as liaison to the commercial Bar preparation companies. The Office has many resources and practice tests for Bar Exam preparation. The Office maintains the ASP Resource Room in Charney 216, and information about the Bar Exam and Bar preparation online at http://emery.scu.edu/students/success/.
The Law School offers a bar preparation course, Advanced Legal Writing: The Bar Exam, available to JD students in their final semester before graduating. Some students are required to take this course under the Upper-Division Proficiency (UP) Points policy. All students are strongly encouraged to enroll in this course.