William and Mary Law School

Prepare for the Bar

Bar Exam information

General Information
  • Become familiar with the dates, policies, and application procedure of the bar exam in the jurisdiction where you wish to practice. Jurisdictions differ on what they require and when.
  • Click here for a  good source of general information regarding the Bar Exam/Application process.  This link includes links to State Bar Examination and Admissions Boards. 
  • Click here for an online version of the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements. This book, published by the American Bar Association, provides general information on each Bar. Much of the book is in table form -- an easy comparison of rules, regulations, fees and general information.
  • New York Bar Admission Requirements

In September 2012, the New York Court of Appeals adopted a 50-hour pro bono service requirement for admission to the New York bar.  Applicants who will be admitted to the New York bar after January 1, 2015, must satisfy this requirement.  That means current 1Ls and 2Ls must satisfy the requirement before being admitted in New York.  3Ls and LLMs who graduate in Spring 2013 and pass the July 2013 New York bar exam do not need to satisfy the requirement if they achieve admission in calendar year 2014.  Current 3Ls or LLMs who achieve admission after January 1, 2015, must meet the pro bono requirement.

 The 50-hour requirement has too many nuances to summarize.  It is important that you read the full text of the rule, the FAQs issued by the New York Court of Appeals, and the affidavit of compliance available here.  You and your supervisor should complete the affidavit at the time you complete the service, rather than waiting until you apply to take the bar.  Otherwise, you risk that the supervisor will not remember your service or will not be with the organization you assisted when it is time to submit the affidavit.

 Please contact Associate Dean Rob Kaplan if you have questions.  

Bar Exam Preparatory Resources
Students choose from a number of commercial bar review courses.
  • FindLaw for Students provides bar exam results, links to bar review courses, and sample questions and answers for your practice.
Application Process - Helpful Tips and Information
  • Information published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. This site provides information on bar exam statistics, has the address and phone number of each state Bar Admission Office, and contains MPRE registration information.
  • Most bar applications require notarization. Remember the Notary Public is certifying your signature. You MUST sign the document in the presence of the Notary.
    • Notaries Public within the Law School include: Gloria Todd, Chris Creech, Kay Hibbard, and Felicia Burton.
    • Notaries Public at the College of William and Mary are found in the Campus Directory.
    • You may use any Notary Public to notarize your bar application.
  • A copy of your law school application may be requested by the Bar. If you do not have a copy, you may obtain one through Dean Jackson.
  • Certificates of legal education, good standing and/or graduation may be required as attachments to your application. Dean Jackson can complete the form or supply a letter if requested by the Bar. (Virginia bar applicants see further information below.)
  • Some Bars require submission of fingerprints. Chris Creech can provide a Virginia Board of Bar Examinar Fingerprint Card and also arrange an appointment with the Campus Police for you to be fingerprinted. You also may have your fingerprints made at a location of your arranging.
  • Transcripts showing degree conferral are required by some Bars (e.g., California). You must request an official transcript and can do so during your final semester of legal education.
Bar Loan Information
Virginia Bar Exam Information
  • Virginia Board of Bar Examiners provides information on the bar admission process in Virginia.
    • The Virginia Bar Exam Application and Character and Fitness Form is available here.
    • The Bar Application requires an Education Certificate. You may obtain this from Chris Creech, preferrably when you seek application notarization.
    • The Law School will automatically send the Graduation Certificate to the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, immediately following the commencement exercises.
  • Summer Bar Exam: The summer bar exam in Virginia is held in Roanoke.
  • Winter Bar Exam: The winter bar exam in Virginia is held in Norfolk.