Information about the California Bar
If you are planning to sit for the California Bar Examination, you must first register with the California Bar. Registration with the Bar is separate from applying to take the Bar Exam.
The State Bar recommends that first-year students register within 90 days of matriculation. Registration is online; as of July 1, 2012, the registration fee is $108.
Registration is required before students may apply for the California Practical Training of Law Student Program (PTLS). Certification to practice through the PTLS is necessary for the majority of UCI Law’s 3L clinics. Registration is also a prerequisite to filing the application for Moral Character Determination.
Once you have registered, please keep your registration number handy, since you will have to use it on all subsequent applications and correspondence with the California Bar.
Registration Information for F-1 Visa Holders: Students with an F-1 Visa who do not have a Social Security Number (SSN) must file a request for an exemption to submit an SSN.
Fill out a hard copy of the Exemption form. Students must also fill out a hard copy of the California Bar Registration form; read details about the requirements on the Foreign Education applicants page.
Both forms and a check for the registration fee should be mailed to:
Ms. Cheryl Waters
The State Bar of California
Committee of Bar Examiners/Office of Admissions
1149 South Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 94105-1639
There are a number of basic requirements that must be met before graduates can be considered eligible to practice law in California:
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) is required by all states that require a Bar Examination. This standardized exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. The exam is 2 hours and 5 minutes long and is administered three times a year, in March, August, and November. Students may take this exam at any of these times after successfully completing the Law School’s Legal Professions class or its equivalent at another school.
The Moral Character Form requires you to provide extensive information, dating back to your high school years, and includes information about past residences and past employment. Applicants also have to submit fingerprints, a DMV clearance, positive references from confidential questionnaires sent to friends and employers identified by you, and a certificate of good standing, which the Law School Registrar will provide.
The form is an online application that cannot be printed out, which makes the process a bit daunting. The form can be saved and applicants can complete it in stages after gathering additional information.
It can take from 8 to 10 months to process the form, so it is a good idea to submit the application early in your 3L year at the law school
PLEASE NOTE: If you have any questions about something in your past that you may have to disclose on the Moral Character form, please see Dean Schroeder.
The California Bar Exam Application Form is also available online, and must be completed as a 3L in order to register to sit for the Bar Examination.
Applications for the July Bar Exam are available on March 1 of each year and are due around April 1. Apply online as early as possible to maximize your chance of getting your first choice of exam site.
When the California Bar determines an applicant’s eligibility to sit for the Bar Exam, it will send a Law School Certificate to the UCI Law Registrar’s Office in order to verify that candidates have completed their legal education and have been awarded a Juris Doctor degree. UCI will certify students for the Bar Exam after they complete the degree requirements for three years of law school and all grades are in.