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California Bar Exam Requirements and Application Process

We strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with the information contained on the State Bar of California’s website regarding the California Bar Examination.

The law school's Bar Exam Information Page also contains relevant info you need to know regarding requirements for law students and graduates planning to take the California Bar Examination.

California Moral Character Determination

Prior to being allowed to practice law in California, an applicant must be found to be “of good moral character.”

  • The California Bar takes a minimum of six months to process and approve Applications for Determination of Moral Character.
  • The California Bar Association therefore recommends filing your application at least eight to 10 months prior to the date you wish to be admitted.
  • If you are planning to take the February bar exam, your application should be submitted by the end of July of the previous year.
  • If you are planning to take the July bar exam, your application should be submitted by the end of January.

It is highly recommended you submit your application early as the approval remains valid for two years, with the ability to extend the approval for an additional two years. Failure to file your application in a timely manner will delay your admission to practice law and become employed as an attorney.

Bar Examinations of Other States

If you are contemplating taking the Bar Examination of a state other than California, it is essential that you determine and meet all requirements of that state's bar examination early on in your legal education. The American Bar Association has a link to state bar websites, which provide information on all states' licensing requirements.

The requirements for each state vary greatly, and it is imperative you are aware of all steps that you must take now and in the future to ensure your ability to work as a licensed attorney in that state. For example, some states require that the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) be taken and passed prior to taking the bar examination, while other states may not have this requirement.