Bar Advising

Multichoice Sheet with Pencil on yellow background


GW Law offers advising to its students and alumni on how to seek membership to various state bars. While this page is regularly updated, applicants are advised to confirm the information with the official web pages of the various state bars. It is each student's responsibility to research the bar admissions requirements for their intended jurisdiction.

In order to obtain a license to practice law, almost all law school graduates must apply for bar admission through a state board of bar examiners. Most often this board is an agency of the highest state court in the jurisdiction, but occasionally the board is connected more closely to the state’s bar association. The criteria for eligibility to take the bar examination or to otherwise qualify for bar admission are set by each state.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) is the best universal source of information about licensing. Details are provided about testing, reciprocity, and character and fitness, and links to all state bar exam web pages are available on the NCBE website. This is the best link to all jurisdictions. Check carefully about each state’s requirements as they differ state to state and are subject to change.

Bar Admissions Overview

Licensing involves a demonstration of worthiness in two distinct areas:

The first is competence. For initial licensure, competence is ordinarily established by showing that the applicant holds an acceptable educational credential (with some exceptions, a JD degree) from a law school that meets educational standards, and by achieving a passing score on the bar examination. In addition, each state may have additional requirements for admission to the Bar. For example, New York requires that applicants must:

  • Take and complete an online course in New York-specific law, known as the New York Law Course (NYLC), and pass an online examination, known as the New York Law Exam (NYLE).
  • Earn a score of at least 85 on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).
  • Comply with the NY Skills Competency Requirement.
  • Comply with the 50-hour Pro Bono Requirement.

The second area is a demonstration of worthiness to practice law. Because law is a public profession, and because the degree of harm a lawyer, once licensed, can inflict is substantial, decisions about who should be admitted to practice law are made carefully by bar examining boards. Bar examiners seek background information concerning each applicant that is relevant to the appropriateness of granting a professional credential.

The key to the character and fitness review component of the bar exam is full disclosure of information requested of each candidate. Most states review your driving record, employment history, credit status, physical and mental health status, and general compliance with the law. State bar examiners will compare your admissions application with your bar form disclosures. In your last semester, you should check to be certain that you have been fully forthcoming to the law school with information pertaining to your past. When in doubt, please consult with Professor Robert Tuttle ([email protected]) for confidential advising on whether a disclosure should be made. 

Bar Application Basics

Although many bar application due dates are not until late April or May, you should begin working on your bar exam applications no later than February of the spring semester or August of the fall semester if you are graduating in December. Be sure to confirm with the bar exactly what paperwork is required. There may be documents you need that take weeks to gather. Treat this application as if it were a security clearance.

Documents You Will Need to Secure:

Be certain to fully complete and sign the documents that you need Records or the University Registrar to process to avoid delay. With respect to the California Bar Exam, students must sign the Registrar Electronic Request Authorization indicating that California will be sending the bar form to the Registrar's Office for completion. This is an important step in the process even if a student completes an electronic release through the California Bar. The GWU Registrar is unable to accept electronic signatures which are used by California.

Each state has different application requirements. For example, Virginia requires certified fingerprinting as part of the application process and New York requires a certified handwriting sample. In many instances, a notary is required for certain documents. For student convenience, two notaries are in the Dean's Office to provide assistance.

If you have already secured employment, contact your employer to determine their policy on bar admission and expense reimbursement, and whether they designate the state bar you should take. Some employers will only reimburse bar courses and exam fees for states in which they have an office. As a general rule, employers understand that once you are licensed in another jurisdiction, for a fee you can waive into another UBE state as long as you have earned a specified minimum score.

The Bar Exam

The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) is a bar exam that is contemporaneously delivered in every jurisdiction that has adopted the UBE. It consists of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). The UBE tests knowledge of general principles of law, legal analysis and reasoning, and communication skills – essentially, it tests the fundamental knowledge and lawyering skills that are needed to begin the practice of law. The UBE is uniformly administered, graded and scored, and it results in a score that can then be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions.

The UBE is administered on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. During the morning session on Tuesday (9:30 am to 12:30 pm), applicants are given three hours to complete two MPT items. During the afternoon session on Tuesday (2:00 pm to 5:00 pm), applicants are given three hours to answer six MEE questions. On Wednesday, applicants will take the MBE, which is a six-hour, 200 question multiple-choice exam divided into two three-hour sessions (9:30 am to 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm).

Students seeking testing accommodations for the Bar Exam (or the MPRE) should review this Disability Support Services web page.

Book your travel and hotel accommodations as soon as possible to ensure convenience and comfort. Several states cooperate to enable candidates to sit for more than one bar within the same week (e.g., NY and NJ). Consult the NCBE website for more information.

Loan funds are generally available to graduates to bridge a funding gap for summer or winter study for the bar exam. Please contact the GW Law Office of Financial Aid at  202.994.6592 or via email at [email protected], to schedule an appointment for more information about what is available and how to qualify.

Two Self-Assessment Opportunities

Through collaboration with GW offices and external vendors, we have created two tools for soon-to-be GW Law graduates:

Bar Admissions Readiness Self-Audit

Bar applications have many facets.  This tool allows GW Law students to answer a series of questions related to their bar admissions process.  Upon completion, it generates a progress report and provides students with a list of application items that require further attention.

To access this tool, click this link.  Students will be asked to authenticate using their NetID credentials (these are the same credentials you use to register for classes in GWeb and access DegreeMAP).  A copy of your responses will be emailed to you upon completion of the form.

MBE Readiness Assessment

The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) is administered in all US jurisdictions but Louisiana.  This includes jurisdictions that have not adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in its entirety.  This tool allows GW Law students to take a simulated MBE.  This simulation is a 50 question (90 minute) exercise.  A full MBE is a 200 question (6 hour) exam.

Themis Bar Review has enrolled all students in a course titled “GW Law MBE Readiness Assessment - 2021-2022.” To access this course, go to and login. Once logged in, press the blue ‘launch’ button next to the course name. Once in the course, you will click on the Assessment, and then click “Begin.” 

For students who already have a Themis account, no further action is required, and you will log in with your existing credentials.

For students who do not have an existing Themis account, over the next couple of business days you will receive an email from Themis with login credentials.  If you do not see the email, check your filters/spam folders.

For any student having difficulty logging into your Themis account, email [email protected] and state that you are attempting to launch your GW - Law MBE Readiness Assessment - 2021-2022.

SPECIAL NOTE: This MBE Readiness Assessment tool is not a complete bar review course.  As a matter of policy, GW Law School refrains from recommending a specific commercial bar review course or company, but we do provide information for the convenience of our students. A bulletin board dedicated to bar related matters is maintained in the lounges. Please see this bulletin board for the latest promotions from various commercial bar review companies.



Workshops are offered to provide GW Law students with the basic knowledge of the bar application process.


For individual consultations regarding your bar application, contact:

Headshot of Andrew Realon



To make a supplemental disclosure, students can complete the Supplemental Disclosure Google Form. Students can also meet with Assistant Dean of Students Jason Belk.

LLM students should contact Melanie Orhant at [email protected].

General requests for documents may be sent to [email protected]. Specific questions about forms and submission of completed forms may be directed to Jo Jones at [email protected]. The University Registrar may be contacted at [email protected]. GW Law Financial Aid at [email protected].

External Links