Taking the Bar Exam in Maryland:

(last updated June 2019)

For current information about taking the bar exam in Maryland, please visit the Board of Law Examiners’ web site (http://www.courts.state.md.us/ble/index.html).

Generally, a bar exam tests applicants for admission on a pre-selected comprehensive array of legal subjects identified as essential to entering legal practice in a jurisdiction.  The core components of any bar exam are the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) or state essays, and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).  In most jurisdictions including Maryland, the bar exam is administered twice a year, at the end of February and July.

The exam follows two main formats, traditional and the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE).  The traditional format offers the MBE, essays crafted by the testing jurisdiction, and the MPT.  Under the UBE, the exam consists of the MBE, MEE, and MPTs.  Under both formats, passage is determined by attaining a minimum cut-score.  However, under the UBE, applicants may apply for admission based on their score in as many UBE-jurisdictions as their score permits. 

The MBE consists of 200 multiple-choice questions administered over six hours on the second day of the exam.  Both the essays and MPT(s) are administered on the first day of the exam. The MEE consists of six 30-minute essay questions while state essays may vary in number and length of response time and cover both MBE subject matter as well as additional subjects.  The MPT is a “self-contained” written assignment in which applicants are instructed to produce a commonly written legal work-product, such as an office memorandum or client letter, within the prescribed 90-minute time limit. 

For more information on the MBE, MEE, MPT and UBE including cut-scores, please visit The National Conference of Bar Examiners web site (http://www.ncbex.org/).

UBE Adoption Map UBE Adoption by Jurisdiction Map 

Bar Testing in Maryland 

Beginning July 2019, admission to the Maryland bar will require the following:  

  1. A minimum qualifying cut-score of 266 on the UBE;
  2. A minimum qualifying cut score of 85 on the MPRE;
  3. Completion of the MD Law Component (online only), and
  4. A Character and Fitness evaluation including a personal interview.

Beginning July 1, 2019, Maryland will accept transferred UBE scores for admission. 

Please check the Board’s web site for up-to-date information.

What legal subjects are tested?

Core subjects tested on the MD bar exam include: Civil Procedure, Torts, Real Property, Evidence, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Contracts and Constitutional Law.  These subjects are tested on both the MBE and essay portions of the exam and may be the context for the MPT.  Additional subjects tested on the essay portion include: Trusts & Estates, Family Law, Conflict of Laws, Business Associations, and Secured Transactions.

The Maryland Law Component tests only local legal distinctions in Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, MD Civil Procedure, Family Law, Professional Responsibility, Torts, and Trusts & Estates.  Subject Matter Study Outlines are provided by the Board for applicant preparation.

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) tests on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the ABA Model Rules of Judicial Conduct, and controlling federal statutes and judicial opinions.  Please see The National Conference of Bar Examiners web site for more information.

When do I have to register for the bar exam?

Under the Maryland Rules for Admission, anyone seeking admission to Maryland must file an application which consists of a completed Character Questionnaire, and either a Notice of Intent to Take the UBE in Maryland or a Notice of Intent to Transfer a Qualifying UBE Score.

Filing deadlines are the May 20 immediately preceding a July UBE administration, and the December 20 immediately preceding a February administration. 

Please check the Board’s web site for exact deadlines and updates.

Character Questionnaire

Every jurisdiction including Maryland, investigates the character and fitness to practice of applicants to the bar.  In addition to completing a detailed written application, most applicants undergo rigorous follow-ups including a personal interview or background check. 

Under the Maryland rules, every applicant for admission must complete a questionnaire under oath attesting to the applicant’s character, fitness to practice law, and education.  Applicants must authorize the release of this information to a Character Committee, the Board, and the Court.  The Character Committee is charged with investigating and evaluating an applicant’s character and fitness to practice including meeting individually with the applicant.  The Committee then recommends to the Board whether the application for admission should be approved or denied.  The applicant bears the burden of proving to the Character Committee, the Board and the Court, the applicant’s good moral character and fitness for the practice of law.

What is the Committee looking for?  In most cases, character committees look for evidence of

  • Dishonesty or lack of candor
  • Financial dishonesty or irresponsibility
  • Past criminal conduct (especially those acts occurring during law school) or
  • Current drug/alcohol abuse.

Applicants should avoid inconsistences in reporting behavior and past conduct.  For that reason, make sure the information you disclose to the law school and to the bar match up.  Talk to the Office of Student Affairs or Bar Program Office if you have any concerns.

What materials will the Maryland Carey School of Law send in for you?

The Law School receives, as part of your Character Committee’s review, a form entitled the "Certification as to Law School Education" which certifies your attendance and specifically asks whether your student record "indicates any instances which may bear negatively on the applicant’s moral character and fitness for the practice of law." The Dean of Students completes this form and returns it to the Committee.

Applicants are required to provide the Board with an official school transcript that reflects the date you received (or will receive) your law school degree.  The Law School does NOT prepare official transcripts. That function, like diplomas, is exclusively the province of the (campus) Office of the Registrar. You can request an official transcript online. If you intend to request a transcript before you have officially graduated, you will want to mark the box under Special Instructions "Hold for Degree" because your transcript must show that your JD was ACTUALLY conferred on a specific date to meet the requirements of the Board of Bar Examiners.

Preparing for the Bar Examination

Passing the bar exam is a challenge for even the most successful law student.  For that reason, the Law School invests heavily in your exam preparation even before you leave the building.  Students are exposed, right from the start, to foundational bar-tested subject matter beginning with the first-year required curriculum and continuing through elective course choices including the Bar Preparation Course. 

The Bar Preparation Course is a three-credit course dedicated to transitioning students into their post-graduation bar exam preparation, and supporting their first-time taker success in the jurisdiction of choice. It is a companion course to your more rigorous commercial bar study after graduation.

IT IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A COMPREHENSIVE SUMMER COMMERCIAL BAR REVIEW COURSE YOU ARE EXPECTED TO TAKE POST-GRADUATION.

In terms of both structure and content, this course intentionally responds to needs specific to bar exam preparation. This course trains students to (i) master strategic areas of law commonly tested on the bar exam, and (ii) develop and/or refine test-taking skills required for success on the bar such as effectively answering MBE-styled multiple choice questions, drafting written responses to bar exam essay questions, and drafting work product for the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

This course is credit/no credit.

 

Budgeting for the bar

Preparing for and taking the bar exam is costly.  But with proper financial planning, you can avoid financial hardship.  Graduates should aim to effectively manage your debt while transitioning into practice.

Common expenses include:

  • Commercial bar review course
  • Bar application fees
  • MPRE registration/testing fee
  • Indirect costs that help you make it through the preparation months
    • Childcare
    • Food
    • Housing
    • Transportation
    • Wellness

For information about financing your bar prep, come talk to us in the Bar Program or Office of Student Affairs.

International LL.M. Students

International LL.M. Students may be eligible to take the Maryland bar exam or certain other US bar exams after completing Maryland Carey Law's LL.M. program, depending on the courses taken.

Applying to sit for the Maryland bar exam as an International LL.M. Student  

The Board has the discretion to waive the standard educational requirements for applicants receiving their first legal degree from a non-US law school AND who is admitted to practice in a non-US jurisdiction AND who also obtains an LLM from an ABA accredited law school (See MD Rule 19-201(b)(2) and Board Rule 7).

An applicant must certify that he/she has successfully completed a minimum of 26 credit hours from among the subjects tested on the UBE (Board Rule 7).

Deadlines for Waiver Requests:

  • No later than 4:30 pm on the preceding April 20th for the July exam.
  • No later than 4:30 pm on the preceding November 20th for the February exam.

For those taking other states’ bar exams:

What is required in other states?

Each state sets its own bar registration and admission rules. Students must investigate the rules in any state in which they plan to live and practice, especially those associated with registration deadlines and required courses. For more information about bar admission in states other than Maryland visit The National Conference of Bar Examiners web site or the American Bar Association's website on state bar admissions.

Will I need to take the MPRE?

Some states including Maryland (as of July 1, 2019) require the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) as part of their bar requirements. For more information on the MPRE, please visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners web site.

Bar Certifications:

The School of Law does NOT complete the Certification as to College Education (Pre-Legal) form for the Maryland Bar.

Bar Certifications are completed by the Office of Student Affairs in the order in which they are received. Due to the high volume of these requests, please understand that there is sometimes a 4-6 week turnaround time. While we endeavor to meet all reasonable requests, please realize that out of respect for the other petitioners, there is no such thing as "same day" or "walk in and wait" service. Bar forms or requests for certification letters can be mailed to the attention of Shanti Narinesingh at 500 West Baltimore Street, Suite 280, Baltimore, MD 21201 or faxed to (410) 706-2103. Be sure to include your full name, social security number, date of graduation, return address, due date for the document and a contact phone number or email address. For any additional questions, please call (410) 706-5235.

Financial Aid While Studying for the Bar:

If you have questions concerning your financial aid options as you study for the bar examination, please contact Marilyn Jones at (410) 706-0873 or mmjones@law.umaryland.edu.

Bar Exam Subjects

Maryland Bar Examination Topic

UM Law Course Equivalent

Multistate Bar Exam

Constitutional Law

Contracts/Sales

- or -

Criminal Law and Procedure

Real Property

Torts

- or -

Evidence

Civil Procedure

UBE & MD Online Law Component Topics

Agency, Partnerships, Associations

Commercial Law

Any permitted combination of:

Family Law

Maryland Civil Procedure

Professional Responsibility

Conflicts of Law

  • Not tested as a stand-alone essay topic but is embedded in other MEE topics; generally taught as part of Contracts, Constitutional law and Civil Procedure

 

Conflicts of Law

 

Trusts & Estates


* Elective Course with Priority Enrollment for 2nd Year Day or 3rd Year Evening students

Required Course - Courses not otherwise marked are electives with normal priority enrollment.