Bar Examination Requirements
Many College of Law graduates apply for admission to the bar in Illinois, although they may later seek admission in other jurisdictions. Forms for the Illinois bar are available on the Illinois Board of Admissions web site, www.ILBarAdmissions.org. Forms for other jurisdictions are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners web site, www.ncbex.org.
The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar permits law students to register with the bar examiners by March 1 of the first year of law school if they intend to take the Illinois Bar Exam. First-year registration is not mandatory, but is strongly recommended if the student has character and fitness issues in his or her background. Students receive a discounted fee if they apply by March 1 of the first year. Other states that offer first-year law student registration include Alabama, California, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and West Virginia. If a student is interested in practicing in one of those states, she or he should contact the Board of Admissions to the Bar in the jurisdiction where he or she plans to practice.
The Illinois Bar Exam is administered in February and July of each year. All DePaul graduates are automatically certified for admission to the Illinois Bar. Graduating seniors should file Character and Fitness forms and the application to sit for the bar examination by September 1 if they will graduate in December or by February 1 if they will graduate in May.
Students must also pass the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), which is given three times per year, in March, August and November. The MPRE may be taken after a student completes at least 2/3 of the credits required to graduate. In the case of DePaul students who need 86 credits to graduate, they must earn at least 58 credits before they sit for the MPRE. If the student takes the MPRE prior to earning 58 credits, the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar will disregard the score, and the student will have to take it again. The on-line application for the MPRE is on the National Conference of Bar Examiner’s website: www.ncbex.org.
Illinois does not require that students have taken any particular courses to sit for the Illinois Bar Exam. However, some states do require students to have taken specific courses. Students should obtain information as soon as possible after they begin law school about requirements for admission to the bar in the state(s) where they may seek admission.
The College of Law offers a bar review program. Students are strongly encouraged to participate. Students should also seriously consider taking a commercial bar preparation course.
Warning: Unfortunately, every year, some College of Law students fail the bar. Do not let this happen to you. The principal reason that students fail is that they do not take the bar exam seriously enough. Be sure to allocate sufficient time for study including, if possible, taking a vacation from work. The bar exam is difficult and requires your very best effort.
Bar Examinations in States Other Than Illinois: A graduating senior who intends to take the bar in a state other than Illinois must notify the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at least two months prior to graduation. The student must provide the Assistant Dean with a Dean’s Certificate form and a cover letter stating the student’s name, student ID number, mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number and the deadline for submission of the form to the jurisdiction in which the student will be sitting for the bar. If the state to which the student applies requires an official transcript to verify the JD, the student must order the transcript from the University Student Records Office, http://sr.depaul.edu. The College of Law cannot order official transcripts because release of the transcripts requires the student’s written consent.
Character and Fitness Disclosures
The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar requires that the Dean of the law school certify that each student sitting for the bar has earned the JD degree. As part of that certification, the Dean must answer the following questions:
- Do your records or other information show anything adverse concerning the applicant’s honesty, integrity, or general conduct?
- Was the applicant ever involved in a disciplinary inquiry or proceeding while in attendance? If so, explain.
- Are you aware of any matter or matters reflecting adversely upon the applicant’s reputation and character?
- Please state any facts, not covered by the foregoing questions, unfavorable to the applicant, which you think the committee should know in connection with its duty to determine whether the applicant is worthy of the highest trust and confidence.
Most other states require similar certificates to be completed by the Dean before students may take the bar exam.
Students are advised that they have a duty to supplement their law school files if any adverse criminal, civil, administrative or financial events occurred before or during law school. If any discrepancy exists between information disclosed on the original law school application and the bar application, the student may be asked to meet with bar admission staff or the Board of Law Admissions. Adverse information not disclosed may result in the denial of a license to practice law.
Students who do not fully disclose adverse information when they apply to DePaul University College of Law must do so at the earliest opportunity. If not, they may be cited for a violation of the College of Law Honor Code. Penalties, including letters of reprimand, suspension or expulsion, may be imposed for failure to make full or complete disclosure.