Receipt of a law degree does not entitle a graduate to be admitted to the bar. Each state has its own bar registration and admission rules. A number of states require that a student register with the state’s board of bar examiners at the beginning of law study to be eligible to take the bar examination.
Some states prohibit the practice of law by persons who have been convicted of certain criminal offenses. Most states will not admit a person to the bar who has committed a crime of moral turpitude.
The College of Law will attempt to provide students with the information necessary for bar registration; however, the final responsibility rests with the student to ensure that all requirements are met. More information is available at gabaradmissions.org.
If you plan on practicing law in Georgia, you will need to pass the Georgia bar exam, and then become a member of the State Bar of Georgia. There are two steps to taking the Georgia bar exam, both of which are required for gaining later admission to the practice of law.
The Office of Bar Admissions follows its instructions for admission to the letter. If you miss a deadline or otherwise fail to properly comply with any step in the process, you will not be allowed to take the bar exam and/or gain admission to the bar. For complete information on this process, see Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law and Policy Statements.
The application must be filed at least eight months prior to the exam you wish to take. Specific deadlines are set by the Supreme Court of Georgia and are available in the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law and posted on the Office of Bar Admissions website.
During the fitness certification process, the Board to Determine Fitness will compare the information you have given to the Office of Bar Admissions to the information you have given to the College of Law. Among other things, they will examine your College of Law application and your Declaration(s) of Disclosure, and any amendments you have made to either one. All of these materials must be kept accurate and complete up to, and including, your graduation from the College of Law. In the event that you have failed to properly update your file in accordance with these rules, it is essential that you contact the associate dean for academic affairs as soon as possible about requesting permission to properly amend your file.
IMPORTANT! The Office of Bar Admissions does not grant extensions for any reason.
File your fitness application by the deadline. There is a late filing period, but the fees are higher then and filing late may not give the Board adequate time to consider your file prior to the bar exam. If you file late, you may not be certified in time, which means you may not be allowed to sit for the bar exam. For detailed information regarding the bar exam, review Part B of the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law. You may also contact the Office of Bar Admissions at 404-656-3490 or write: 244 Washington St., SW, Suite 440, Atlanta, GA 30334 if you have any questions.
The fitness part of the application process looks at candor; fiscal responsibility, including repayment of student loans; compliance with court orders applicable to the applicant, including those for child support; any record of criminal activity, including that as a juvenile and that which has been expunged; misuse of alcohol and controlled substances; and mental and emotional stability. It is your responsibility to gather most of this information; collecting the information and resolving any issues may take several months, so don’t wait until the last minute to start.
Also note that you are required to update your application with a written amendment within 30 days of the occurrence of any event that would change the answer to any question on the application. It is critical that you begin to review and complete your application as soon as possible. If you have questions or concerns, contact the associate dean for academic affairs.
Filing Fees and Deadlines
A filing fee is required when submitting the Fitness Application. See Part A, Section 4(a) of the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law.
Applications are not considered filed until all required fees have been paid.
The Bar Exam Application must be filed as registration for a specific exam and is available only to those applicants who hold a valid Certification of Fitness to Practice Law in the form of a letter mailed directly to the applicant (see Step One above).
The Bar Exam Application cannot be filed until a valid Certification of Fitness has been issued.
The Georgia bar exam is administered twice a year, on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. For specific dates, click here. Most law graduates take the July bar exam after they graduate in May. Applications for the February exam are available in October and applications for the July exam are available in April.
The Office of Bar Admissions enforces its deadlines to the letter. Extensions are not granted for any reason.
Results of the February exam are published online and sent out the last weekend in May; July exam results are published online and sent out the last weekend in October. For information on various exams that may be required for bar admission, and links to most state bar authorities (including information for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Republic of Palau), visit the website of the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
Filing Fees and Deadlines
Bar Exam Application Filing Deadlines can be found in the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law.
For detailed information regarding the Bar Exam, review Part B of the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law. For specific deadlines, please see Bar Exam Application Filing Deadlines under Deadlines and Fees on the Home Page.
Students who have applied to take the Georgia Bar examination in July will receive information stating that an official final law school transcript is required by the middle of June.
Law grades are due in mid-June and your official graduation date is afterwards. The Law Registrar will send a letter for every Spring graduate to the Office of the Bar Admissions in late-June. This letter will allow you to sit for the Georgia Bar. You do not have to make a formal request for this letter. The Office of Bar Admissions know students will not be sending final Georgia State Law transcripts by the June deadline.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO: Request an official final law transcript from the Office of the University Registrar after July 1 from PAWS. This should give the University Registrar’s Office time to put the degree statement (which is what the Office of Bar Admissions wants) on the transcripts.
The Board of Bar Examiners does not allow applicants to bring food, snacks, or drinks of any kind other than water (in clear plastic unlabeled bottles only) into the exam room. The list of acceptable and unacceptable items is constantly changing, so be sure to check the Office of Bar Admissions rules close to the time of your exam.
Applicants who want authorization to bring any other items (assistive devices, special seating, etc.) into the exam room must submit an Administrative Accommodation Request Form to the Office of Bar Admissions. You may be asked to provide documentation to support your request. If the request is granted, the Office of Bar Admissions will send you a letter approving the request, which must be presented to the Office of Bar Admissions Staff at the exam site.
Testing accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, are available for the Georgia bar exam. The required forms and deadlines can be accessed on the Office of Bar Admissions website at ADA Testing Accommodations.
- Learn more about the MBE part of the exam.
The bar exam in Georgia is a two-day exam. It consists of three parts: (1) the Multistate Performance Test prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and graded by the Board of Bar Examiners; (2) four Essay questions prepared and graded by the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners; and (3) the Multistate Bar Exam prepared and graded by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
The first day consists of two testing sessions, as follows. From 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., you will take the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), Items 1 and 2, with no break between items. In taking the MPT, you will be given instructions, factual data, cases, statutes and other materials to complete an assigned task, such as writing a memorandum of law or opinion letter. After lunch, you will take four (4) Georgia essay questions between 2 and 5 p.m., with no break between questions. You are allowed to manage your time as you wish within each testing session.
In Georgia, essay questions prepared by the Board of Bar Examiners are drawn from the following list of subjects:
- business organizations
- constitutional law
- contracts, including UCC Article 2 sales
- criminal law and procedure
- family law
- practice and procedure (Georgia and federal)
- professional ethics (professional responsibility)
- trusts, wills and estates
- Uniform Commercial Code Articles 2 (sales),
3 (negotiable instruments), and 9 (secured transactions)
- civil procedure
- constitutional law
- contracts, including UCC Article 2 sales
- criminal law & procedure
- real property
Every fall, the College of Law hosts swearing in ceremonies in our court room. All College of Law alumni in good standing with the State Bar of Georgia, including newly minted lawyers, are eligible to participate for admission to the Court of Appeals of Georgia and/or the Supreme Court of Georgia.
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