Before we know it, thousands of law school graduates will be lining up six feet apart or transitioning their living spaces into an exam center for either the in-person or remote administration of the July 2021 bar exam. July 27th – 28th are the dates that most jurisdictions have selected to issue this exam, but before examinees even get to this date, there are several other important dates they should make note of if they plan to successfully sit for the July exam.
In this post, we will review some important deadlines for the bar admissions process. Not taking the exam in July? No worries! These deadlines may still generally apply to your exam date, so keep reading!
1. Bar Exam Application
Possibly the most important deadline to look out for is the bar exam application deadline for your jurisdiction. Each respective jurisdiction will likely have a regular deadline for the application submittal and also a later deadline with late fees tacked on.
For example, the Georgia bar’s application deadline is June 2, 2021, and the fee is $442. However, if you apply after June 2nd there is a $200 late fee.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check for your jurisdiction’s deadline and begin gathering any necessary information you need for the application. One important document you will need is your school transcript. Your jurisdiction may extend the transcript deadline past the application date, however. If you have ever requested any documentation from a Registrar’s office, you may already know that this is a lengthy process. So, jump on this request as soon as possible to meet your transcript deadline.
If you are wondering where to find your jurisdiction’s deadline, you can check out their bar exam website which should already have this information posted. The NCBE also recently released its 2021 Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements. This should provide you with all the necessary jurisdiction details in one place.
2. Character and Fitness Application
The Character and Fitness Application is a mandatory application that requires you to input information about your background that is needed to assess whether you are morally and ethically fit to practice law. Examinees are required to submit this application in some cases before or in other cases after they sit for the bar exam.
Regardless of when your deadline is, you should get a copy of your jurisdiction’s application ASAP to begin pulling the information you need to input. You will be required to submit your driving record, criminal history, financial records, etc. Additionally, you will need references who can speak to your moral character. Now is a good time to begin gathering the necessary documents and reaching out to references to determine whether they can complete the reference details the bar sends to them.
If your deadline is before the exam, be sure to look into whether this application is necessary to complete your exam registration. For example, Georgia requires that examinees submit both a Bar Exam Application and Character and Fitness application before they are considered registered for the exam. Be sure to flag when your deadline is and do not miss it!
3. Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
The MPRE is an exam issued by the NCBE that tests your understanding of legal professionalism and ethics. Some jurisdictions will allow you to sit for this exam even after you complete the bar exam. However, the MPRE is required for attorney licensing, therefore, you will need to sit for the exam and get a passing score before you can go into practice.
This year the MPRE will be offered on August 11th or 12th, and November 4th or 5th. This exam is only administered three times each year. So, if you haven’t completed it, be sure to sign up as soon as possible on the NCBE site.
4. Bar Prep Course Registration
If you decide to take a bar prep course, be sure to sign up early on to take advantage of the full course schedule. Each course’s schedule will vary based on the package you select. However, the course may generally be a ten-week process, that kicks off in May and continues through July.
5. Mandatory Mock Exam for Remote Testing
If your jurisdiction is administering a remote exam, be sure to confirm whether you are required to do a mandatory mock exam. Some remote jurisdictions are requiring that examinees complete mock exams to test the exam software. You may be required to take one, two, or more exams that will allow you to determine if your software is good and to also acclimatize yourself with the software features. If this is a requirement for your jurisdiction, do not miss your mock exam deadlines.
In most cases, missing the above deadlines will prevent you from sitting the bar exam. Therefore, be sure to note the important dates for your jurisdiction and set a reminder if you need to, so that your access to the exam won’t be in jeopardy.