California Bar Requirements

Bar RequirementsIn addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants 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.

Those who intend to seek admission to practice law in California should file the following applications:

  1. Registration as a law student: Students intending to practice law in California should register as a law student.  Failure to timely do so will result in a late fee.
  2. Application to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE): The MPRE is required for admission to practice law in California. It is offered three times per year.
  3. Application for determination of moral character: The State Bar of California recommends that students file the moral character application eight to ten months prior to admission to practice law.
  4. Application to take the California Bar Examination: This examination is administered twice per year, in February and in July.
  5. Application to take Bar Exams in other jurisdictions: A student who intends to seek admission to practice in another jurisdiction should contact that admitting authority to determine their requirements. Please see Chart 3 of  the 2020 NCBE guide for more information.