The Georgia Office of Bar Admissions has updated its FAQ section with more details and specific logistical requirements for the remote October bar exam: here. If you plan to take that exam, please review those very carefully, as a failure to comply strictly with all requirements could result in your being disqualified. You all have waited too long and endured too many changes to have that happen in the home stretch!
As set forth in the new FAQ and in an email you should have received from the Georgia Bar this week, laptop registration is now open. It will close on September 18 at 4 pm, so please don’t leave that until the last moment. There is other paperwork you must complete, so do read their email carefully, it has detailed instructions in addition to the FAQ posted. Both are essential for you to review.
The Office of Academic Engagement & Student Success will host a special review session for Emory’s Georgia bar-takers on September 10 at 4 pm, on Zoom, to discuss how to tackle the open-book Georgia law essay questions. Check your Emory email for details and a link.
Take good care of yourselves, the light is showing at the end of the tunnel.
Dear Class of 2020: Congratulations on finishing the fall semester! As you look ahead to the rest of your time here, you will have much to celebrate even before graduation. Don’t forget to use this time also to make sure you are ready to make the most out of your commercial bar review course after graduation. There is much you can and should do NOW to improve your bar readiness and your chances of first-time success on the bar exam in July!
First, check to make sure you are aware and on top of all bar-related deadlines and requirements for the bar exam in the state where you plan to take it. Each state has its own rules and processes, even if they use some of the same tests, and the state bar admissions offices put the burden on you to know, understand, and follow their particular requirements. A good place to start is www.ncbex.org, the website of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, but always check directly on the state bar’s own website in case of any changes. You will also find on the state bar’s website information about the subjects that state can test, what kind of performance test it may give, whether there is an additional component that you take separately from the bar exam (e.g., the MPRE, or the online New York law course), and even past essay questions and sample answers. If you plan to seek exam accommodations, start that process now, it can take a long time.
Second, I highly recommend the book “Pass The Bar!” by Riebe and Schwartz. Although it was published before a few changes in the MBE, so you have to update the information about what subjects are tested and how many questions are experimental, for instance, it remains the best comprehensive guide and planning tool I have found, including especially its “Action Plan Checklists.” Also, subscribe to or come back to check out our blog, “Emory Law Bar Readiness” (link is on the Office of Academic Engagement pages on the law school website, www.law.emory.edu); it contains a lot of useful information as well as links to additional resources.
Third, now is the time to confirm your choice of a commercial bar review course, if you haven’t done that already. You should have that in place by the end of your fall semester. This will allow you to start getting familiar with the course materials and figuring out where your individual weaknesses might be, with plenty of time to remedy any gaps in your recall or understanding of bar-tested subjects. You can add bar-tested subjects to your schedule during the drop/add period in the first week of classes in January, if you think that’s necessary.
Fourth, start NOW to plan ahead for your post-graduation study period. Assess your own readiness in a systematic way, and plan to take the MBE diagnostic tests and overview workshops we will offer in the spring semester. Assess candidly whether you have any particular risk factors (a chart of risks and how to remedy them is available outside the Office of Academic Engagement). Plan how you will use the time between now and July to address those. Make a plan to handle your time, finances, and other needs during the bar study period (May through end of July).
We look forward to working with you on your readiness to take and conquer the bar exam next summer! Best wishes for your holiday season – Dean Brokaw
Congratulations, graduates! If you missed earlier deadlines to register for a July 2019 bar exam, the Oregon State Bar has extended the late filing deadline to May 30 for those interested in sitting for the July 2019 Oregon Bar Exam. The OSB seeks to ensure that Oregon remains an option for applicants throughout the country, as bar licensing becomes an increasingly cross-jurisdictional decision. For more information, see the OSB Admissions page here: https://www.osbar.org/admissions.
Oregon uses the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) as its bar exam. Applicants who take the Oregon Bar Exam earn a portable score that is transferable to the other 29+ states/jurisdictions that offer the UBE. Graduates can find the list of UBE states here: http://www.ncbex.org/exams/ube/. Remember, it is easier to succeed in a job search if you have taken and passed a bar exam, and the UBE is a great option if you don’t yet know where you will be working.
Dear students: Welcome back from your break! We hope you enjoyed some rest and relaxation. Here is some important information about bar readiness programming in March.
On March 20, the Office of Academic Engagement & Student Success will hold an open academic advising session for all rising 2Ls, rising 3Ls, and continuing LLM students, specifically focused on course selection and bar readiness. In addition to fulfilling graduation requirements, it is wise to choose a variety of courses, each of which serves at least one of the following purposes: (a) help you better define your potential interests, by narrowing the possibilities; (b) help you deepen your knowledge/skills/abilities in specific practice areas, if you know the possible careers you may choose to pursue; (c) help you signal to potential employers your knowledge of (and interest in) a particular area; (d) help you prepare for the bar exam by instructing you in one or more of the topics that are tested. Pre-registration and regular registration will take place in the first half of April, so come to this session on March 20, Rm. 1E, 12:15-1:45 pm. Graduation requirements are listed on the Law School Registrar webpage and in the online Student Handbook you will find there. You can review a course selection checklist for JD and AJD students here: Office of Academic Engagement & Student Success, under the tab for Choosing Courses.
On March 27, the Office of Academic Engagement & Student Success will again welcome the Director of Bar Admissions for the State Bar of Georgia and a member of the Board of Bar Examiners for Georgia, to discuss what to expect on the bar exam itself. This session is well worth attending even if you plan to take the bar in a different state, as much of the information will cover national tests like the MBE and MPT, as well as other generally applicable information. This program is especially intended for students who plan to take the bar exam in July 2019, but others are also welcome to attend. March 27, Rm. 1E, 12:15-1:45 pm. A copy of the actual bar essay question the bar examiner will review with students is linked below; you should review it, outline how you would answer it, and bring those materials to the session.
Due to a lack of faculty availability and student attendance, there will be no more MBE Overview sessions this spring. You may view the 2019 MBE Subject Matter Outline that is the basis for those sessions here, on the website for the National Conference of Bar Examiners: MBE Subject Matter Outline. Rest assured that your commercial bar review courses will instruct you thoroughly in these topics. If you haven’t yet signed up with a bar course, you should do so right away, and start reviewing the “early start” materials most provide.
If you will graduate in May and take a bar exam in July, mark your calendar for March 27, when the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions will return for its annual spring visit. Unlike the fall visit, when the director of bar admissions speaks to students mostly about the character and fitness process, the spring visit includes one of the actual bar examiners, the lawyers who write and grade the essay questions on the Georgia bar. The presentation will be on March 27, from 12:15-1:45 pm, in Rm. 1E.
This session will be useful even if you plan to take the bar exam in a different state, as the director of bar admissions will speak generally about things like the MBE (Multistate Bar Exam) and MPT (Multistate Performance Test), which are included on the Georgia bar exam and most other states’ bar exams. She will also go into detail about the Georgia bar exam, so if you plan to take that, don’t miss this session. Also, if you have individual concerns or questions about the character and fitness review process, she normally makes herself available for private conversations with students after the main session.
Please visit www.gabaradmissions.org for detailed information, and remember to keep checking your bar applicant portal for any communications from the Office of Bar Admissions. You don’t want to miss any questions or deadlines from them, as they will strictly enforce all policies and deadlines. The very last deadline for submitting a character and fitness application for the July 2019 Georgia Bar is March 6, 2019. Review all Georgia deadlines here: Georgia Bar Admissions Deadlines and Fees.
If you will take the Uniform Bar Examination or another state’s bar exam, make sure you are tracking and meeting all relevant deadlines and requirements. You can review those at the website of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, www.ncbex.org, in the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements. NOTE: “The information in this publication is correct as submitted to NCBE by contributing jurisdictions at the time of publication. It should be used only as a general guide. Since jurisdiction rules and policies change, NCBE strongly advises consulting the jurisdiction’s bar admission agency directly for the most current information.”
If you were planning to take the February bar exam in the District of Columbia, which has been affected by the recent federal government shutdown, other jurisdictions (some UBE, some non-UBE) are offering a window of opportunity for DC bar applicants to register with them instead, and have extended their application deadlines. Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee are among them.
Please check directly with the bar admissions office of any state where you think you might take the bar exam in place of the District of Columbia to determine whether this is an option for you. Some of the registration windows, such as Pennsylvania’s, are time-limited, so check ASAP.
UPDATE: The DC Bar has announced that the DC bar exam will go forward as scheduled in February:
In light of the recent announcement concerning a temporary end to the government shutdown, we’re pleased to report that the District of Columbia Court of Appeals has determined that the February 2019 bar exam will be administered in the District of Columbia! Please be advised that the District of Columbia Bar has expressed a commitment to ensure that the February 2019 bar exam goes forward in the event of any future government shutdown beyond February 15, 2019.
We apologize for the added stress and uncertainty that the government shutdown has caused; but we are pleased to be able to process your applications to sit for the February 2019 bar exam, and wish you success on the exam.
We expect that our Office of the Committee on Admissions will be reopened on Monday, January 28, 2019. Any follow-on inquiries can be directed to coa [at] dcappeals [dot] gov.
Welcome back to all Emory Law students, but a special welcome back to you who will be taking a bar exam soon! We have a busy schedule of programs every spring semester to help you get ready to get the most out of the commercial bar review courses you will likely take after graduation, so please look out for announcements in On The Docket and in flyers on the electronic bulletin boards. You can also subscribe to this blog to get an email when there is a new post.
We will kick off our annual spring semester series of in-house “bar readiness” programs in late January, but you should take some steps now, before our first program (which will be on January 28, at lunchtime). That will be a Q&A session with Jennie Geada Fernandez about the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, or MPRE. We will then start a series of “MBE Overview” sessions, led by our own faculty, with Prof. Rich Freer walking you through the topics that can be tested under Civil Procedure, on 1/30, during the community hour. Save the dates! And watch On The Docket for details about location, etc.
1) Inform yourself about the requirements and testing for admission to the bar where you hope to be admitted. Every state has its own bar admissions rules and office, and you MUST comply with that state’s requirements. You can view them in detail at the website for the National Conference of Bar Examiners, www.ncbex.org. We strongly advise you to bookmark that site, as well as the official bar admissions site for your chosen jurisdiction. If there is any contradiction between the information provided, it is the state’s official bar admissions website and rules that will supersede any other guidance, so you need to read those carefully. NCBEX writes and scores tests such as the Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”), the Multistate Performance Test (“MPT”), the Multistate Essay Exam (“MEE”), and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”). The last, the MPRE, is given three times a year, separately from the rest of the “bar exam.” Not all states administer all three standardized tests that are given together (the MBE, the MPT, and the MEE). For instance, the state of Georgia writes and grades its own state-specific essay questions, instead of the MEE. States that DO give all three standardized components are giving a “Uniform Bar Exam”, or UBE. You should educate yourself about that at the NCBEX website.
2) We recommend the book “Pass the Bar!” by Riebe and Schwartz. Although some of its information is out of date, such as the exact coverage and breakdown of the MBE, it remains one of the most useful bar readiness books available, since it includes action checklists and various charts to help you keep track of what you are doing to prepare, in addition to sensible, humane, time-tested advice for success on the bar exam. You can see a copy in the law library if you want to take a look at it before you decide whether to get your own copy.
3) The law school will provide at least two MBE Workshops this spring, at no added cost to you. The first one will be on February 9, from 10 am – 4 pm, and will be given by Kaplan. Watch On The Docket for more details and information about how to sign up. These workshops involve you doing a number of practice MBE questions, and then a professional bar lecturer explaining those questions and answers, and the strategies for doing well on the MBE.
4) If you haven’t yet signed up with a commercial bar review course, you should get that done before the end of this month. We don’t endorse any course over another and we suggest that you use the tools in “Pass the Bar!” to make an individual assessment as to which course is right for you. However, NOT taking a strong commercial bar review course is a known risk factor for failing the bar on the first attempt, and no one wants that to happen to you. Find the course you want, and sign up for it now! Most will offer you some “early start” materials, and working on those between now and May will likely reduce the time pressure and resulting stress you may feel during the intensive bar study period after graduation.
5) Plan a “bar vacation” for AFTER the bar exam! It’s fine to take a short week off after graduation before your commercial course class sessions start, but save the long vacations for August, after you’ve taken the bar. Your fulltime job between graduation and the end of July is to prepare for, take, and pass the bar exam. You’ll enjoy your vacation so much more once that is over!
Again, welcome back, and happy 2019! We look forward to helping you get ready for graduation and the bar exam.
Dear students: below is a guest post from Tanisha Pinkins 16L, who successfully took and passed the bar exam on her first try and who has been working with the Office of Academic Engagement and Student Success to help other students, before starting her fulltime law job next week!
Congratulations, you made it past your first or second year of law school!
Now is a great time for you and your classmates to start thinking ahead to what you can do over this academic year to maximize your probability of success when you take the bar exam for the first time.
One important consideration that students may overlook is the selection of your 2L or 3L class schedule. With the drop/add deadline quickly approaching, on August 28th at 11:59 pm, now is the time to take another look at your course selections. Be sure to double check the final exam schedule to balance the times and number of days between your final exams.
To increase your chances of success and reduce the stress of bar review, I encourage you all to take at least one upper-level course tested on the bar exam each semester. I heard it all the time as well: “You don’t need to take bar classes during law school, you can learn it during bar review.” While that is true for some topics, remember that bar review is a review course, not a learn-it-all-for-the-first-time course. I took a few upper-level bar review courses during law school and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The volume of material you’ll need to cover during bar prep is massive and overwhelming. Having covered topics such as Business Associations and Trust & Estates in law school definitely made covering those topics during bar review a less stressful experience.
Here’s a list of some of the upper-level courses Emory offers that are tested on the bar exam. Be sure to check the website of the State Bar examination you plan to take, to see what subjects can be tested, prior to choosing a course: Business Associations, Trust & Estates, Conflict of Laws, Complex Litigation, Commercial Law, Family Law, Real Estate Finance & Secured Transactions. For more details and information, go to the Office of Academic Engagement and Student Success website and scroll down to the tab for Bar Readiness. For information about choosing specific courses that relate to particular practice areas, go to the Practice Societies webpage and click on the box for Practice-Focused Academic Guidance (use your Emory log-in).
A quick reminder of important deadlines approaching.
Drop/Add deadline– August 28, 2017 at 11:59 pm
Pass/Fail deadline– November 1st & 21st
I wish you all the best of luck this year. Warm regards,
If you have been certified through Georgia’s Character and Fitness process, you should have also received instructions on how to submit the SEPARATE bar examination application form, without which you cannot sit for the bar exam in July. Detailed information is here: https://www.gabaradmissions.org/deadlines-and-fees. Please note that the Georgia Bar’s deadlines mean that materials and fees must be received, not postmarked, before 4 pm on the deadline date.
If you are taking the MPRE on Saturday, March 18, we wish you the best of luck and success! Please note: you CAN take the Georgia bar exam before you take the MPRE but you MUST take the MPRE and achieve the cut-off score on that, in addition to passing the bar exam, before you will be admitted to practice in Georgia. After this Saturday’s administration (for which all registration deadlines have passed), the next MPRE administration will be on Saturday, August 12, 2017. The regular registration deadline for that is June 22; the late registration deadline, which doubles the fee, is June 29.
The August MPRE is the last date that will likely allow you to receive those results by the end of October, when you should also get your results from the actual bar exam. If you plan to be sworn in to the Georgia bar this fall, and you have not yet taken the MPRE or achieved the required score, make sure you know those dates and register in time for August.
If you don’t have it already, now is a great time to buy yourself a copy of “Pass The Bar!” by Riebe and Schwartz, so you can refer to their terrific action plan checklists for readiness before you start your commercial bar review course.