Admission to the bar is regulated by individual states. Each state sets its own requirements. Students who wish to take the bar in a particular state should contact the office which oversees State Bar Admissions for that state to investigate the requirements for admission well in advance and to ensure that he/she meets the requirements.
Multistate Bar Exam
The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) is a 200-question multiple choice exam administered in every state except Puerto Rico, Louisiana, and Washington. The topics covered on the MBE are listed below with the Temple Law School courses in which those topics are covered. (Note: Subjects that may appear on a bar exam are discussed in many courses. The list below includes only those courses which devote substantial attention to subject areas which are specified as being covered on the MBE.)
- Civil Procedure – Civil Procedure I
- Constitutional Law – Constitutional Law, Political and Civil Rights
- Contracts – Contracts, Sales
- Criminal Law/Procedure – Criminal Law I, Criminal Procedure I
- Evidence – Evidence
- Real Property – Property, Real Estate Transactions
- Torts – Torts
Each state also has another portion of the bar exam, usually in an essay format. The topics covered on the essay portion of bar exams most frequently taken by Temple Law School graduates are listed below. When it may not be self-evident which Temple Law School courses devote substantial attention to the particular topic, the courses are noted in the brackets.
The Pennsylvania essay exam tests all six of the MBE subjects, with an emphasis on Pennsylvania law, as well as the following topics: Employment Discrimination, Conflict of Laws, Business Organizations (including corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and professional corporations) Wills, Trusts and Decedents’ Estates [Trusts and Estates], Family Law, Pennsylvania (in addition to federal) Civil Procedure, Pennsylvania (in additional to federal) Evidence, Pennsylvania Professional Responsibility, Sales (UCC Article 2), and Federal Personal Income Tax [Taxation]. Pennsylvania also administers one Performance Test question designed to test an applicant’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation.
New Jersey bases the essay portion of its bar exam on the six MBE subjects and civil procedure. Such essay questions may be framed in the context of fact situations involving, and interrelated with: agency, conflicts of law, corporations, equity, family law, partnership, UCC Articles 2, 3, and 9, wills, trusts and estates, zoning and planning, and disciplinary rules.
Effective July 2016, New York will administer the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). In addition to the UBE, applicants are now required to complete an online course on New York law, and take and pass an online exam on New York law. The UBE is administered contemporaneously in every other jurisdiction that has adopted the UBE. It consists of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE).
You must complete both an online course (NYLC) and an online open book exam (NYLE) on New York-specific law (which you can complete before taking the UBE, if you choose). The NYLC may be available as early as April. The NYLE will be offered May 26th, August 18th, and October 13th. Each applicant must take the NYLC, and pass both the NYLE and UBE before being certified for a character and fitness investigation.
The MEE consists of six 30-minute essay questions. Areas of law that may be covered on the MEE include: Business Associations (Agency and Partnership; Corporations and Limited Liability Companies), Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Real Property, Torts, Trusts and Estates (Decedents’ Estates; Trusts and Future Interests), and Uniform Commercial Code (Secured Transactions).
Note: As of January 2013, a new rule affecting bar admission in New York is in effect. All candidates seeking admission to the New York bar after January 1, 2015, with the exception of admission on motion candidates, will need to file documentation showing completion of 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work. See http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/baradmissionreqs.html for further information.
Please be aware that each year, many states modify their exams in some way. For more information on the topics covered in the states listed or in other states, you should review that state’s appropriate website or contact its bar examiners.
Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
601 Commonwealth Ave., Suite 3600
P.O. Box 62535
Harrisburg, PA 17106-2535
New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners
P.O. Box 973
Trenton, NJ 08625
Board of Bar Examiners of the Supreme Court of Delaware
Carvel State Office Building
820 North French Street, 11th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801-3545
New York State Board of Law Examiners
Corporate Plaza, Building 3
254 Washington Avenue Extension
Albany, NY 12203-5195
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is required for admission to the bars of many jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware. It measures knowledge and understanding of established standards related to a lawyer’s professional conduct.
For admission to the Pennsylvania bar, candidates must achieve a score of 75 on the MPRE. Though MPRE is also required for New Jersey, this requirement is waived for candidates who achieve a grade of “C” or better in Temple Law School’s course on Professional Responsibility. The MPRE is a 50 question, multiple choice test, offered in April, August, and November. You may take the exam as a law student or within time periods established by the bar examiners in the states in which you intend to practice. Applications for the MPRE are available by calling the National Conference of Bar Examiners (319) 341-2500, or by writing:
National Conference of Bar Examiners – MPRE Application Department
2255 N. Dubuque Road
P.O. Box 4001
Iowa City, IA 52243
The following is a list of a bar examination review course providers. In addition to bar examination preparation classes and materials, they also provide classes and materials for preparation for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. Some providers maintain brief information on their web sites of the bar examination requirements in each state.