After graduating from law school, in order to practice law you will need to be admitted to practice in a specific jurisdiction. This involves an extensive application process and a multiple day examination (the "Bar Exam") administered by the particular state board of bar examiners. Upon successful completion of the admission requirements, an applicant becomes a member of the state bar and is licensed to practice law in that state.
The Bar Exam is given, in most states, every February and July. The exam format and subjects tested vary by jurisdiction. Therefore, it is highly recommended that all students review the requirements of the state or states in which they would like to practice.
Information regarding the bar exam multistate tests, test dates, and pass rates is available on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website.
Bar Exam Terms and Definitions
The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) - a six-hour, two-hundred question multiple-choice examination covering contracts, torts, constitutional law, criminal law, evidence, and real property.
The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) - a three-hour, six-question essay examination covering agency and partnership, commercial paper, conflict of laws, corporations, decedents' estates, family law, federal civil procedure, sales, secured transactions, and trusts and future interests.
Some states draft their own essays in addition to, or instead of, the MEE. Students are required to answer based on state specific laws.
The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) - three 90-minute skills questions covering legal analysis, fact analysis, problem solving, resolution of ethical dilemmas, organization and management of a lawyering task, and communication.
Nebraska adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) as of the February 2013 test date. The UBE is prepared and coordinated by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) to test knowledge and skills that every lawyer should be able to demonstrate prior to becoming licensed to practice law. It is composed of the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) tasks, and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). It is uniformly administered, graded, and scored by user jurisdictions and results in a portable score. States adopting the UBE will easily accept score transfers from other UBE states. For a list of all states that have adopted the UBE, visit the NCBE website.
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
The MPRE is a sixty question, two-hour, multiple-choice examination administered three times each year. The MPRE is required for admission in all but four US jurisdictions (WI, WA, MD and Puerto Rico - Note that with its adoption of the UBE in July 2013, WA will start requiring the MPRE). It is a separate examination from the Bar Exam administered by the NCBE. 3Ls should plan to take the MPRE no later than the November test date. The registration deadline for the November MPRE is typically mid-September. Registration information is available on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website.
Law Student Registration Requirements
Some states provide reduced registration fees for students who register early to take the bar in their state, in some cases within the first few months of starting law school. Please check your individual state requirements.
The following states encourage or require law students to register at the beginning of their first or second year of law school to sit for the bar examination. The states and their requirements follow:
Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements 2010, 4-5 (National Board of Bar Examiners and American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar 2010).
We encourage you to visit the web site of any state that you plan to practice law in to review their registration requirements and topics tested on the particular bar examination. Links to individual states' web sites can be found at http://ncbex.org/bar-admissions/offices/.
Please see Assistant Dean King or Associate Dean Dallon if you have any questions regarding bar admissions or law student bar examination registration.
Bar Application Tips
For specific tips on completing your Bar Examination Application, please view this video where members of the Nebraska Bar Commission discuss the application and the character and fitness evaluation. Please note that the advice on character and fitness issues is applicable to all jurisdictions.
Sample Bar Review Courses
BARBRI - A bar review course that provides study materials (books and lectures) for all of the tests listed above.
Adaptibar - A bar review course that provides study materials for the MBE.
PMBR - A bar review course that only provides study materials for the MBE.
MicroMash - A bar review course that provide self-study materials for 22 states, the MBE, MPT and MPRE.