CALIFORNIA BAR EXAM ELIGIBILITY:
YOUR FIRST STEPS, WHAT TO EXPECT
By Chris Jorgenson, BARBRI International Legal Manager
Qualifying as a U.S. attorney in California is an ambitious task … the BARBRI International Bar Preparation curriculum and educational platform put you in the best position to succeed.
Hello, my name is Chris Jorgenson, Legal Manager with BARBRI based in London, England.
In this blog post, I’ll be addressing the eligibility requirements for the California Bar Exam and the practice trends we’ve seen in California over the years, which will be quite helpful and valuable to you.
First, let me establish what makes BARBRI the world’s #1 bar review provider. For the past 50 years, BARBRI has been the industry leader in U.S. bar exam preparation and passing success, having helped more than 1.3 million law school students become licensed attorneys in the United States. The BARBRI International Bar Preparation programme prepares law graduates and lawyers from non-U.S. based jurisdictions to gain membership in the State Bar of California and New York State Bar Association.
BE IN GOOD STANDING, PROVIDE PRACTICE CERTIFICATE
Generally, any qualified lawyer in good standing anywhere in the world is eligible to sit the California Bar Exam. So long as the attorney can produce a certificate of good standing and a home jurisdiction practice certificate, the California Bar Exam is available. In addition, an international law student may become eligible for the California bar by completing a one-year LL.M. at a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) or accredited by the state of California. In practice, this means completing an LL.M. in the United States.
ONLY THE STATE BAR CAN CONFIRM ELIGIBILITY
It is important to note that the only arbiter of California Bar Exam eligibility is the State Bar of California. Serving as an arm of the California Supreme Court, only this governing branch of the state can confirm eligibility to sit the California Bar Exam. Confirming eligibility can take between 4-to-6 months, so it is important that as a prospective bar exam candidate, you begin the process early.
EXAM DETAILS: DATES, FORMAT, SUBJECTS, SCORING
The two-day California Bar Exam is offered twice a year during the last week of February and last week of July. It’s administered only in California, requiring an international candidate to travel to the United States to sit the exam.
There are seven core Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) subjects tested: Constitutional Law, Contracts/Sales, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, Federal Civil Procedure, Real Property and Torts. In addition, the California Bar Exam essay subjects cover: California Civil Procedure, Business Associations, California Community Property, California Professional Responsibility, Remedies, Trusts and California Wills and Succession.
Day one of the bar exam consists of a morning session: three essay questions testing any subject and an afternoon session: two 60-minute essay questions and one 90-minute Performance Test. Day two of the exam: 200 multiple-choice questions testing the seven core MBE subjects.
The State Bar of California weighs the MBE portion (50%) and written essay portion (50%) of the bar exam equally. A passing score of 1,440 on a 2,000-point scale is required.
A California applicant is also required to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), a 60-question multiple-choice professional ethics test that is offered three times each year (usually in March, August and November). An applicant must take the MPRE inside the United States, but may do so in any U.S. state.
While sitting the California Bar Exam and qualifying as a U.S. attorney in California is an ambitious task, the BARBRI International Bar Preparation curriculum and educational platform put you in the best position to succeed, where ever in the world you reside. Learn more now.
Be sure to look for my next blog with details about the New York Bar Exam.
If you are interested in expanding your career options globally, you may be eligible to sit for a U.S. Bar Exam and become a U.S. attorney. In today’s increasingly globalised world, demand continues to grow for those who understand the workings and complexities of the law of more than one jurisdiction.
BARBRI International will prepare you to pass the U.S. Bar Exam and provide flexible and supported learning, tailored to non-U.S. educated law graduates. BARBRI is a leader in legal education and the #1 bar exam preparation programme for 50 years.