Applicants must pass several examinations to be admitted to practice law in California.
The California Bar Examination is given twice each year in February and July. The exam will be given over two days and consist of the following parts:
The written portion of the examination (essay questions and Performance Test) is administered on the first day, with three essay questions given in the morning session and two essay questions plus the Performance Test given in the afternoon session. The MBE is administered on the second day, with 100 questions given in the morning and 100 questions given in the afternoon.
The examination covers 13 subjects, including Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Community Property, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, Real Property, Remedies, Torts, Trusts and Wills and Succession.
Approximately 16,000 people take the bar exam each year. Find more information about the California Bar Exam, including dates and test locations.
Are there ways to help all who take the California Bar Exam better prepare and improve their performance? That is the question being studied by the State Bar in conjunction with a team of law and psychology researchers from Indiana University, University of Southern California, and Stanford University.
The First-Year Law Student’s Examination (also known as the “baby bar”) is a one-day test given twice a year in June and October. It consists of four one-hour essay questions administered in a four-hour morning session and 100 multiple choice questions administered in a three-hour afternoon session. The examination covers three subjects: Contracts, Criminal Law and Torts. More than 1,100 applicants take the exam each year. The exam is only given in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. Applicants can take the exam if they have completed one year of law study.
Every applicant must take and pass the MPRE in order to be admitted. Applicants can take the MPRE any time after completing one year of law study and before being licensed to practice law in California. This two-hour, multiple-choice test is administered three times a year by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
Testing accommodations are available to individuals with mental or physical disabilities. Depending on the nature of the disability, accommodations may include such things as readers or personal healthcare assistants, wheelchair access, permission to dictate to a typist or digital recorder, customized timing, separate testing room, customized examination materials (Braille, large print, etc.), extended testing days and permission to bring and use specific items or medical aids.
Under the supervision of the Supreme Court of California, the State Bar's Committee of Bar Examiners is responsible for developing, administering, and grading the California Bar Examination and the First-Year Law Students' Examination.