Admission to the bar is regulated by individual states. Each state sets its own requirements. Students who wish to take the bar in a particular state should contact the office which oversees State Bar Admissions for that state to investigate the requirements for admission well in advance and to ensure that he/she meets the requirements.
Topics Covered on the Bar Exam
Multistate Bar Exam
The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) is a 200-question multiple choice exam administered in every state except Puerto Rico, Louisiana and Washington. The topics covered on the MBE are listed below with the Villanova Law School courses in which those topics are covered. (Note: Subjects that may appear on a bar exam are discussed in many courses. The list below includes only those courses which devote substantial attention to subject areas which are specified as being covered on the MBE.)
Constitutional Law - Constitutional Law I & II
Contracts - Contracts I & II, Sales
Criminal Law and Procedure - Criminal Law I, Criminal Procedure I
Evidence - Evidence
Real Property - Property I & II
Torts - Torts
Each state also has another portion of the bar exam, usually in an essay format. The topics covered on the essay portion of bar exams most frequently taken by Villanova Law School graduates are listed below. When it may not be self-evident which Villanova Law School courses devote substantial attention to the particular topic, the courses are noted in the brackets.
The Pennsylvania essay exam tests all six of the MBE subjects, with an emphasis on Pennsylvania law, as well as the following topics: Employment Discrimination, Conflict of Laws, Corporations, Decedents' Estates [Trusts and Estates], Family Law, Pennsylvania (in addition to federal) Civil Procedure, Pennsylvania (in additional to federal) Evidence, Pennsylvania Professional Responsibility, Sales (UCC Article 2), and Federal Personal Income Tax [Taxation]. Pennsylvania also administers one Performance Test question designed to test an applicant's ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation.
New Jersey bases the essay portion of its bar exam on the six MBE subjects. Such essay questions may be framed in the context of fact situations involving, and interrelated with: agency, conflicts of law, corporations, equity, family law, partnership, UCC Articles 2, 3, and 9, wills, trusts and estates, zoning and planning, and disciplinary rules.
The New York bar exam (in addition to the MBE) consists of five essay questions, a Performance Test, and 50 multiple choice questions. The essay and multiple choice portion of the exam tests all six MBE subjects, as well as: Business Relationships, Conflict of Laws, New York Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Family Law, Remedies, New York and Federal Civil Jurisdiction and Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills and Estates, and UCC Articles 2, 3, and 9.
Please be aware that these are the formats for the bar exams in 2005 in the states listed above. Each year, many states modify their exams in some way. For more information on the topics covered in the states listed or in other states, you should contact the bar examiners in the states in which you intend to practice. BAR/BRI, a bar examination review course provider, maintains brief information on its website of the bar examination requirements in each state.
Bar Examiners' Addresses and Websites - Selected States
Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
5070A Ritter Road, Suite 300
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners
P.O. Box 973
Trenton, NJ 08625
Delaware Board of Bar Examiners
Office of the Secretary
200 West 9th Street, Suite 300B
Wilmington, DE 19801
New York State Board of Law Examiners
1 Executive Centre Drive, Suite 202
Albany, NY 12203
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is required for admission to the bars of many jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware. It measures knowledge and understanding of established standards related to a lawyer's professional conduct.
For admission to the Pennsylvania bar, candidates must achieve a score of 75 on the MPRE. The MPRE is a 50 question, multiple choice test, offered in March, August, and November. You may take the exam as a law student or within time periods established by the bar examiners in the states in which you intend to practice. Applications for the MPRE are sometimes available in the Registrar's Office, or by calling the National Conference of Bar Examiners (319) 341-2500, or by writing:
National Conference of Bar Examiners - MPRE Application Department
2255 N. Dubuque Road
P.O. Box 4001
Iowa City, IA 52243