Bar Exam Application
Gathering all the information needed to apply for a bar examination takes time. Students are encouraged to start gathering materials and preparing applications early in their final year of law school.
While KU Law strives to maintain current information on bar exams and related dates, the most reliable source of information is the Bar Examination Committee in each individual jurisdiction. All candidates should review the materials on each jurisdiction's website with plenty of time to meet all the requirements.
MPRE and Character & Fitness
Apart from the state-administered bar exam, in most states you will also need to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). The exam tests your awareness of professional responsibility rules.
The MPRE is normally taken while you are still in law school. If your jurisdiction requires the test, find more information in the MRPE section below. You'll learn when the exam is offered, how to prepare for the test and how to register.
Many states also require that applicants submit a character and fitness application that must be approved before they can be licensed. It is important to start your character and fitness application early. The questions are extensive and may require you to submit fingerprints or other materials. Applicants are also asked to obtain proof that they have no criminal record or even speeding tickets that are not fully resolved.
Additionally, some states require a credit report. Contact the three major credit reporting agencies to obtain a report: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Applicants should request credit reports early so that you have time to correct any inaccuracies.
Bar Exam Requirements
Learn about the requirements for the Kansas and Missouri bar exams in the accordions below. You'll also find information about the MPRE, the patent bar and resources for bar exams in the other 48 states.
Details about applying for admission to the Kansas bar and a copy of the Petition for Admission (bar application) can be found on the Kansas Judicial Branch website.
Kansas has adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), as have numerous other jurisdictions, including our neighboring states of Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado.
To obtain a license to practice law in Kansas, applicants must comply with the Petition for Admission, including:
- Have a Juris Doctor from an accredited law school
- Pass the bar exam of the State of Kansas
- Obtain a minimum score of 80 on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
- Gain approval of their Character and Fitness application
The Kansas Bar Examination is given on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. Exam dates and locations are updated on the Kansas Judicial Branch website.
Missouri is one of many jurisdictions, including Kansas, that have adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE).
The Missouri Bar Examination is given on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July in Jefferson City, Missouri.
All applicants must start the application process by creating a personal MBLE registration account.
More information is available on the Missouri Board of Law Examiners website.
Almost all jurisdictions require that applicants present an acceptable score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). The exam is separately administered three times each year, in March, August and November.
Most students will sit for the exam after completing a course in Professional Responsibility. Each jurisdiction establishes its own passing score and requirements for accepting scores from other jurisdictions. Students should check with the board of bar examiners in the state where they intend to practice. Registration packets for the MPRE are available in the Career Services Office. Students may also register online.
KU Law students have access to an MPRE prep course through the law school's Free Bar Prep Program.
MPRE Passing Scores
- Kansas: Scaled score of 80 prior to or within 180 days of taking the Kansas Bar Exam
- Missouri: Scaled score of 80 within one year after date of written notification of passing the Missouri Bar Exam
Professional Responsibility Course
Professional Responsibility (LAW 972) is a required course that a student must complete by the time they finish 60 hours of law school. Applicants will not be able to take the MPRE until the course has been completed.
Eligible applicants who wish to take the Patent Bar Exam should visit the U.S. Patent Trademark Office website for more information.
The Wheat Law Library maintains a thorough list of Patent Bar prep courses.
To obtain a license to practice law in states other than Kansas and Missouri, please contact the board of bar examiners in the jurisdiction(s) in which you are most likely to practice. A jurisdiction directory is available on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website.
General Bar Exam Guidelines for Other States
The exam format, application fees and deadlines for bar exams vary by jurisdiction. General guidelines include:
- Generally, the exam consists of one day of state essay questions and one day of Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) multiple-choice questions
- Many states also include the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
Guidance on Bar Application Deadlines
Most bar application deadlines will occur during your final year of law school.
Deadlines vary, so students should check with the board of bar examiners in the state in which they intend to practice.
Some jurisdictions, including Missouri, offer or require law student registrations at an earlier point in law school. The purpose of early registration is to identify problems that might otherwise delay or adversely affect the student's ability to obtain a law license.
Students who fail to register on time are permitted to take the bar exam in most cases but may be assessed additional fees.