Planning for the State Bar
Registration with the State Bar
Ms. Cheryl Waters
The State Bar of California
Committee of Bar Examiners/Office of Admissions
1149 South Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 94105-1639
Your required first-year courses will provide coverage for 6 of the 12 California Bar Exam subjects: Civil Procedure (Procedural Analysis), Constitutional Law (Constitutional Analysis), Contracts (Common Law Analysis: Contracts), Criminal Law (Statutory Analysis), Professional Responsibility (Legal Profession), and Torts (Common Law Analysis: Torts).
You should also plan your second- and third-year course schedules with an eye toward what subjects are covered on the Bar Exam. Upper-level courses that are offered or tentatively scheduled to be offered at the law school that cover topics tested on the Bar Exam include: Evidence; Remedies; Property; Criminal Procedure; Gifts, Wills and Trusts; Constitutional Law: First Amendment and Community Property.
Moral Character Application
NOTE: Preferably in the fall but no later than January of your third year of law school, make sure to submit your Moral Character Application. Your application must be filed within 90 days of your live-scan fingerprinting or you will have to re-do the prints.
As of July 2012, the fee for filing the Moral Character Application is $500.00. The review process takes approximately 8-10 months for the Bar to verify all information provided, and you will not be admitted to the Bar until it has approved your Moral Character Application.
Your Moral Character Application will require information to be provided dating as far back as high school. Some of the information that will be asked of you includes:
An additional requirement for California Bar Exam applicants is the submittal of their fingerprints through Live Scan. Your Moral Character Application will not be considered complete without the appropriately processed fingerprints.
The fee for Live Scan fingerprinting ranges from $16 (a commercial company will come on-campus in the fall) to $52 (UCI police department). Additional information about the fingerprinting requirement is available on the State Bar of California website.
California Bar Examination Application Form
NOTE: Make sure you submit your application to take the Bar Exam as soon as possible after the application becomes available. Doing so will help ensure that you get the testing site of your choice.
As of July 2012, the fee for filing the Application to take the California Bar Exam is $614.00. If you plan to take the exam on your laptop computer, payment of an additional fee of $139.00 is required. Information regarding use of laptops for the July 2012 Bar Exam is available on the State Bar's website.
The deadline for filing your application to take the July 2012 Bar Exam has not yet been set, but is likely to be in early April 2012.
Using Your Laptop During the Exam
If you plan to take the exam on your laptop computer, payment of an additional fee of $139.00 is required. Information regarding use of laptops for the July 2012 Bar Exam is available on the State Bar's website.
Petition for Testing Accommodations
If you are a student with a disability in need of testing accommodations for the Bar Exam, plan to make arrangements for testing accommodations well in advance of the examination date (ideally at the beginning of your third year).
You should plan on filing a petition for accommodations no later than at the time you file your application to take an examination. Additional information on testing accommodations may be found on the State Bar of California website.
Applying to Take Non-California State Bar Exams
Because each state has its own requirements for admission to the Bar, you should investigate the rules for each state in which you think you are likely to seek admission to the Bar.
For information about bar admissions in other jurisdictions and specific eligibility requirements for the New York State Bar, go to the Bar Exams in Other States page.