Bar Exam Info
Qualifications for Admission to the Bar
In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Students 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. Additional information regarding each state's bar admissions requirements, including Character and Fitness procedures, can be found here. Students with any questions or concerns about this process should contact the Dean of Students or the Associate Director of Bar Support.
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State-by-state Character and Fitness Requirements Chart
The Bar ExamClick to Open
The Bar Exam is a test administered twice a year in every state (July and February) which a prospective attorney must successfully complete to become eligible to practice law. The length and composition of the exam varies from state to state, but nearly every state uses a combination of questions created by state bar examiners and the National Conference of Bar Examiners (see below for more information about the NCBE exam components). The following links provide information on the bar exams our students most frequently take: Rhode Island; Massachusetts; Connecticut; New York*; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Maryland.
*New York recently enacted a pro bono requirement. Students should be aware that this requirement is different from RWU Law’s pro bono requirement. Thus, pro bono hours that count toward fulfillment of RWU Law’s pro bono graduation requirement do not necessarily count for compliance with the New York rule. The new rule, helpful FAQs, and the Affidavit of Compliance can be found here. RWU Law is not responsible for graduates’ compliance with the New York rule. We recommend that you contact the NY Bar directly with specific questions.
The MBEClick to Open
The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is administered by participating jurisdictions on the last Wednesday in February and the last Wednesday in July of each year. The purpose of the MBE is to assess the extent to which an examinee can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze given fact patterns. The MBE contains 200 multiple-choice questions, 190 of which are scored. The 10 unscored questions are evaluated for future use and are indistinguishable from scored questions. The 190 scored questions are distributed as follows: Constitutional Law (27), Contracts (28), Criminal Law and Procedure (27), Evidence (27), Federal Civil Procedure (27), Real Property (27), and Torts (27). More information can be found here.
The MEEClick to Open
The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is administered by participating jurisdictions on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year. The MEE is composed of six 30-minute questions which may cover any of the following areas of law: Business Associations (Agency and Partnership; Corporations and Limited Liability Companies), Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Federal Civil Procedure, Real Property, Torts, Trusts and Estates (Decedents' Estates; Trusts and Future Interests), and Uniform Commercial Code (Negotiable Instruments and Bank Deposits and Collections; Secured Transactions). Some questions may include issues in more than one area of law. The particular areas covered vary from exam to exam. More information can be found here.
The MPTClick to Open
The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is administered by participating jurisdictions on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year. The MPT is a 90-minute designed to test an examinee’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. Each test evaluates an examinee’s ability to complete a task that a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish. The MPT is not a test of substantive knowledge. Rather, it is designed to examine six fundamental skills lawyers are expected to demonstrate regardless of the area of law in which the skills arise: (1) sort detailed factual materials and separate relevant from irrelevant facts; (2) analyze statutory, case, and administrative materials for applicable principles of law; (3) apply the relevant law to the relevant facts in a manner likely to resolve a client’s problem; (4) identify and resolve ethical dilemmas, when present; (5) communicate effectively in writing; and (6) complete a lawyering task within time constraints. Descriptions of the skills tested can be found in the 2014 MPT Information Booklet. These skills are tested by requiring examinees to perform one or more of a variety of lawyering tasks. For example, examinees might be instructed to complete any of the following: a memorandum to a supervising attorney, a letter to a client, a persuasive memorandum or brief, a statement of facts, a contract provision, a will, a counseling plan, a proposal for settlement or agreement, a discovery plan, a witness examination plan, or a closing argument. More information can be found here.
The MPREClick to Open
The MPRE is a 60-question, two-hour-and-five-minute, multiple-choice examination developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and administered three times per year at established test centers across the country. The purpose of the MPRE is to measure the examinee's knowledge and understanding of established standards related to a lawyer's professional conduct. The majority of states require bar applicants to receive a passing score on the MPRE as a condition to bar admission. Each of these states has specific rules regarding when an applicant must take the MPRE and what score the applicant must receive to “pass”. This information can typically be found on the state bar examiners’ websites.
Most students choose to sit for the exam while taking Professional Responsibility, or soon thereafter. However, studying from these class notes alone will not be sufficient to prepare you for the exam. Most commercial bar preparation companies (BARBRI, Kaplan, Pieper, etc.) offer a free MPRE review class and study materials. Additional resources can also be found on the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ website. More information about the exam, administration dates, and registration can be found here.
Bar Exam Preparation
Most lawyers will tell you that the Bar Exam was one of the most difficult challenges that they have ever faced. The Law School is committed to preparing its graduates for first time success on the Bar Exam.
Bar Training Course: Applied Legal Reasoning
This year-long, for-credit bar training course focuses on developing the skills and test-taking strategies necessary for success on what many consider to be the most difficult portion of the Bar Exam, the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). The MBE is a 200-question, multiple-choice examination with questions from six different areas of the law. The bar training course covers Torts, Criminal Law and Procedure and Evidence in the Fall Semester, and Contracts, Property, and Constitutional Law in the spring.
Bar Awareness Meetings
Every 3L is encouraged to meet individually with Brittany Raposa, Associate Director of Bar Support, to discuss Bar Exam applications, helpful tips, and successful study strategies. Students should complete a Bar Preparation Profile in advance of this meeting.
Q & A with the RI Bar Examiners
During this session, representatives from the Rhode Island bar examiners answer student questions about the Bar Exam. Topics include the application process, test logistics, the character and fitness review process, and the content of the Bar Exam itself. These sessions are typically held during the spring semester.
Our graduates continue to receive important support for the Bar Exam after graduation. This includes support from the entire staff of the Dean of Students Office, the Academic Success Program, the Law Library, and the Writing Specialist. Most graduates choose to attend commercial bar courses, including BAR/BRI and KAPLAN/PMBR, but are encouraged to also take advantage of the the following resources:
Individual Consultations: Meet privately with Brittany Raposa, Associate Director of Bar Support, to discuss your study plan. These meetings can be held in-person, by phone or over the web. These sessions are designed to help you develop a study strategy and schedule, and to provide guidance on selecting a bar review course and study materials. To schedule a meeting please contact Professor Raposa at (401) 254-4637 or email@example.com.
Book Lending Program: If you need study materials to supplement your existing resources, please stop-by the Dean of Students' office to browse through our library of study aids. We have numerous bar outlines and practice questions for a variety of states, all of which are available for you to borrow on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Review Sessions: Bar review sessions are offered periodically prior to the July and February exams. These sessions provide attendees the opportunity to ask questions and do practice problems relating to the six multistate bar exam (MBE) subjects and the MPT. These sessions are held on campus and streamed over the internet. For additional information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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For questions or more information, contact:
Brittany Raposa, Esq.
Associate Director of Bar Support
Roger Williams University
School of Law
Ten Metacom Avenue
Bristol, RI 02809
Tel. (401) 254-4637