How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
User avatar
Chicklets
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:14 am

How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby Chicklets » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:33 am

As a 0L this is a ways off, but for planning purposes I'm wondering if I expected to work in 2 states a few years apart does it make sense to get both bar exams out of the way as soon after law school graduation, or not. (My spouse will be a med student, and so will be 4 years of med school then at least 4 more for residency before settling back in our home state). I'd be taking the bar first in the state we go to school in, and expect to work there for 5 years or so. Would it be most efficient to follow that up with the bar for our home state right away (already in study mode) or wait and do it later (imagining that once I'm working I would really dread preparing for another exam)....

User avatar
dextermorgan
Posts: 1138
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:37 am

Re: How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby dextermorgan » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:42 am

In most states passing the bar in another state and a few years of practice can allow you to be admitted by reciprocity (often called Admission by Motion). Different states have different requirements however, so the best thing to do is peruse the websites of the bars you wish to be admitted in.

User avatar
DoubleChecks
Posts: 2333
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:35 pm

Re: How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby DoubleChecks » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:45 am

a doctor and a lawyer? you can do better than that

User avatar
reasonable_man
Posts: 2200
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:46 am

Ive taken and passed the NY and the CT bar exams simultaneously. Some states, like NY and CT, make it very easy to take the bar exam for each state contemporaneously. In my case, I took the NY essays on day 1, the multistate bar exam (200 multi-choice questions) on day 2 and the CT essays on day 3. Some States like DC, will simply accept a high MBE score and let you grade in to the jurisdiciton right away. Still other states, like for instance, MA and CT, will not permit you to take the exam contemporaneously, as the essay days conflict with each other (MA and CT essays are given on the same day. Thus, you can take the MA and NY exam at the same time, but you cannot take the CT and MA exams at the same time.

As for studying, there are certain exams you would never take at the same time, i.e., NY and CA. They are just too hard and require too much individual info for anyone to pass at the same time. But in many cases, there are primary states, like NY with a tough exam and NJ or CT, which are not as difficult and can be passed with mostly a strong understanding of the substantive law of just the primary state. I passed NY and CT knowing nothing about the substantive law of CT.

Which two states in particular are you planning on taking?

User avatar
Chicklets
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:14 am

Re: How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby Chicklets » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:38 am

reasonable_man wrote:
Which two states in particular are you planning on taking?


Home is Washington State, and it looks like from the Wiki article that this is one of 2 states that do not offer the MBE.... have to research that some more, as I'd never heard of it. School is looking like it will either be Illinois or California.

Thanks for all of the information!

User avatar
ihatelaw
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:26 pm

Re: How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby ihatelaw » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:48 am

jayzon wrote:While I (of course) defer to Reasonable Man...you know, since he's an actual attorney...I must ask about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multistate_Bar_Examination. I've been wondering about it for a while, and this seems like the time to ask.


if you read the entry it pretty much follows what reasonable man says.

there are state specific essays after MBE, some districts admit you with a high score, and so forth.

User avatar
Chicklets
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:14 am

Re: How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby Chicklets » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:56 am

Just looked at the Washington State Bar website... they don't offer MBE here, and they only offer reciprocity with Oregon and Idaho. So that means two separate bar exams for me.

Opinions on whether taking them back to back (July and Feb) is a better or worse strategy than taking the first one after graduation and the second one 5 years later?

User avatar
macattaq
Posts: 441
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:46 pm

Re: How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby macattaq » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:03 am

WA is considering adopting the MBE, and that may happen within the next 2-3 years (probably before I graduate in 2012 knowing my luck).

User avatar
reasonable_man
Posts: 2200
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:48 am

The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is a 200 multi-choice test that many states use. However, many of the states that utilize this exam use it as only one portion of the exam. For example, NY has several parts, including the MBE.

NY:

Day 1:
50 State Specific Multiple Choice Questions 10%
5 Essays (which are harder than any other State's except perhaps California) 40%
1 Multstate Performance Test Question (An essay type question where you are asked to write a motion, memo, etc) 10%

Day 2:
The MBE (200 Multi-choice questions testing on 6 major subjects) 40%

CT weighs the MBE higher:

Day 1: MBE (which can be taken in NY) 50%
Day 2: Essays 50%

Some jurisdictions, like D.C., will allow you to transfer in with a high MBE, like D.C. and will not require you to sit for their essay section. Some States, like MA, will allow you to use an old MBE (up to 2 years I think), and sit for a current essay portion. Some states, like NJ, will require you to sit for the MBE and the essay section, irrespective of whether you had a good prior MBE score.

For most bar exams, a really strong MBE = passing. For instance, I scored in the upper 95% on the MBE, meaning, I would have had to completely bomb every other section of the NY bar to fail the exam. For those of you preparing for bar exams, complete mastery of the MBE is crucial. By the time I sat for the test, I was outscoring my non-TTT graduate law review friends on the MBE because I knew this was the key to passing.

Another term you will hear is the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). Many States, NY, MA, CT, NY, et al., will require you to also pass this 60-question exam. It covers (obviously), the topic of professional responsibility. Personally, i found the test to be shit-easy. They require an 85 to pass. I knocked out a 120 on little sleep and 5 hours of studying. Just get this thing done, in LS, way before the bar exam and forget about it. Some States require you to pass before sitting for the bar. Some states allow you to sit for the bar and then sit for the MPRE after and will postpone admission until you pass. Don't do this. Take PR in your 2nd year of LS and take the MPRE right after the class and get it over with.

Character & Fitness. This is typically the last major hurdle. The bar examiners review your criminal background, disciplinary files from academic institutions and your law school Apps (make sure you disclose stuff when applying as you don't want a pre-LS offense to pop up and not be disclosed on your LS or Bar exam application). Some States, like NY, also require an in-person interview. This last stage is more of a formality than anything else.

Admission. You are finally sworn in before the Judges of either the State's highest Court, or the intermediate Court of Appeals of the State. In most States, the high court governs lawyer admission/discipline. In NY, the highest court (Court of Appeals), has the final say, but most lawyer administration is done through one of the 4 geographically delineated Appellate Divisions. Thus, you are sworn in before that individual Appellate Division. Bring someone that cares about you, its a special day.

Most Federal Courts also require you to qualify to practice, but no test is required. Just a bunch of paper work and perhaps an admission ceremony before a Judge of the Court. Its actually a very nice ceremony.

User avatar
reasonable_man
Posts: 2200
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:25 am

As an aside. I'm always available to answer questions about the bar exam, particularly NY.

User avatar
booboo
Posts: 1032
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:39 pm

Re: How to be admitted to the Bar in multiple states...

Postby booboo » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:29 am

reasonable_man, the posts you have in this thread have been really informative. Thanks for the info!




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSNbot Media and 1 guest