Bar Admissions, Exam, and Preparation

The rules and regulations relative to admission to the practice of law vary from state to state. For the specific requirements, reference should be made to the statutes, rules of court, and the Board of Bar Examiners in the particular state in which the student intends to seek admission. In general, a written examination conducted by a state agency is a prerequisite to admission.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners is a great resource for Bar Exam information and testing resources beyond commercial providers. Their website is:

  1. Certification for the Bar

    The character and fitness section of every State Bar will require any and all law schools attended by the student to certify that the candidate applying for the Bar: attended the law school in question; has been conferred the J.D. degree; or whether he/she incurred any disciplinary action (example: violation of Code of Student Discipline) by the law school in question. This certification form must be submitted to the Registrar's Office (309) and it is often included in the bar application for each state. The student must also execute a written release authorization form before the Registrar's Office can release any information to a State's Board of Bar Examiners.

  2. Character and Fitness Application

    Students should check with their respective State Bar for character and fitness filing deadlines, application information, and requirements. Most state boards will accept character and fitness applications during a student's final year of law school. However, there are a few states which require students to submit their character and fitness applications during their first year. Some state bars even provide discounts on application fees for early application and penalties for third-year or late application filings.

    Students must make a "diligent" and "good faith effort" to disclose all requested and relevant information for a State Bar application for character and fitness review.

    If students have any questions or concerns regarding their Character and Fitness application they should visit the Office of Student Affairs to speak with the Assistant Dean or Assistant Director. Students can also send Character and Fitness application questions via e-mail to

  3. Duty to Report and Amend/Update

    Students have an ongoing duty to disclose and report any changes to information filed on their law school application as soon as they are admitted to MSU Law and during their tenure here. Students have faced delays or denial of their bar application by a State Character and Fitness section for failing to disclose any changes to MSU College of Law.

    Students can avoid this by reporting any incident that involves a criminal charge, conviction, disciplinary action, or bankruptcy that occurred between admission and their first day of classes at the Law College via an amendment letter.

    Students are also strongly encouraged to report to the Law College any criminal charge, conviction, disciplinary action, or bankruptcy that occurs after beginning law school. It is in a student's best interest to disclose any thing that may appear as a discrepancy to the State Bar during the review of their character and fitness application.

  4. Amendment/Update Student File Requests

    Students are solely responsible for ensuring that the information they submitted on their law school application matches the information submitted on the Bar exam application.

    Students “amend” their law student application if there was an omission of information that should have been included at the time they applied to law school. Students “update” their file if an event occurred after submitting their law school application. 

    Amendments and updates to the student file must be addressed and submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (amendment/update procedure outlined here). The amendment/update should be in letter format, stating that the student wishes to amend their law school application and/or update their student file, and provide the circumstances surrounding the amendment/update. Approved amendments/updates will be placed in the student's official record and their application/student file is updated accordingly.

Updated: August 15, 2022.