5 DC Bar Exam Application Tips
Applying to take the Washington, DC Bar exam can be stressful. Here are five key DC Bar exam application tips to keep your stress to a minimum. The sooner you complete your application, the sooner you can focus solely on studying.
5 DC Bar Exam Application Tips
1. Carefully review the parts required for the application.
The instructions for completing the DC Bar exam application show that there are five parts to the application. Most applicants will only have to worry about three of them.
First is the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) character and fitness application. This is completed on the NCBE website, which will be linked to your application. Once you complete the character and fitness application, you will print off the application, complete the payment information, and have the last signature pages notarized. Do not sign the signature pages until you are in the presence of the notary. If your law school has its own notaries, take advantage of their services to save yourself time and stress.
Second, you will need your school to complete the Law School Certification form. This form is available for download from the application website. It needs to be executed, under seal, by your school’s Dean, Registrar, or another authorized official who awarded your law degree. Once completed, you upload this form to the application.
Third, you will need a passing MPRE score. You will upload your score report from the NCBE to the application. A score of 75 or above is required for the DC Bar exam application. You need to take and pass the MPRE before you apply to the DC Bar Exam. (We have plenty of helpful MPRE posts if you are looking for help passing the MPRE!)
Fourth is the Certificate of Good Standing for practicing attorneys. You do not need a Certificate of Good Standing if you are a graduating law student. Only attorneys of other jurisdictions need these from their current state bars. If this is not applicable to you, mark that it is not applicable and continue your application.
Fifth is a Request for an Accommodation. If you need an accommodation, when you click “Submit Application” under the “Register for UBE” tab in the online application you will then click “I need a test accommodation” and upload three documents. You must upload the “Applicant Request Form,” medical documentation, and proof of past accommodations from all testing agencies and educational institutions that have granted you accommodations.
After you have completed all necessary parts, you will register for the UBE and pay one of many fees. For more detailed instructions on completing these individual parts please visit the DC Courts’ Committee on Admissions’ website.
2. Be forthcoming on character and fitness.
As soon as you begin law school, you begin hearing horror stories of character and fitness issues. Avoid living your own nightmare and disclose everything required. Read all the questions closely and answer truthfully.
If you realize you need to disclose something on the character and fitness application that you did not disclose on your law school application, you need to amend your law school application so they match. Go to the proper office at your law school and amend your application. The NCBE will compare your character and fitness application to your law school application. If they do not match, expect trouble. If you are unsure of what you disclosed in your law school application, request a copy from your school.
Do not be afraid to go to your school to amend your application. It may be hard to admit you made a mistake. However, it is a million times better to correct it now with your school than to try to explain it to the NCBE.
Another little side tip is that you do not have to report traffic warnings for driving violations on the DC Bar Application, but you do need to report tickets.
3. Utilize your law school’s bar exam advisor.
If your law school has a dean, career counselor, or any other faculty member that advises students on bar exam applications, utilize them and their knowledge. They will know exactly what form you need to get your Law School Certification filled out by the proper office. They can even advise you how long it will take that office to complete the form. Some of these things may not be obvious if you are trying to do it by yourself. For example, if you are a student at GW Law School you will need to submit a Certification Request Form with the Law School Certification Form to Records, not the school’s registrar.
If your law school is in or near the DC metro area your school may also host workshops on applying to the DC bar exam. These are incredibly helpful for understanding all the instructions and to stay on top of deadlines.
4. Do not put your bar application off to the last minute.
Absolutely, do not procrastinate your DC Bar Exam application. As soon as the application opens, you should begin the application process. The character and fitness application takes time to complete. You will need all the time you can get if you find you need to amend your law school application.
It will also take some time for your school to complete the Law School Certification form. The office completing those forms in your school will be inundated with as the deadline approaches. Do not submit it to them the day before it is due and expect them to have it to you the following day. Submit the form early on and beat the rush.
If you miss the first deadline, the application fees jump significantly higher for late registration. There are no exceptions if you do not meet the late registration deadline. So, don’t push your luck and start early! You need to make the DC Bar Exam Application one of your top priorities and stay on top of the time it will take to complete.
5. Keep an eye out for laptop registration later in the summer.
Unfortunately, after you submit you application and register for the UBE, you still have one more task. About a month before the exam, the registration for laptops for the written portion of the exam opens. The registration period is open for only about a week, so watch your email inbox closely. You will register on the Exam4 website and pay yet another fee through PayPal. Finally, after you register your laptop, you are all set to take the DC Bar Exam!
Caitlin, a recent graduate of The George Washington University Law School and a JD Advising Uniform Bar Exam blogger, wrote this post.
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