The University of Richmond School of Law has implemented the Academic Success program to assist our students in reaching their academic potential during law school and to ensure that our graduates are fully prepared to meet the challenge of the bar exam.
Our graduates, both first-time takers and repeaters, have passed the Virginia bar exam at a higher rate than the statewide average on every administration of the bar-and often by a substantial margin. In fact, our first-time takers have beaten the statewide rate by an average of 6.4 percentage points on the summer bar exams from July 2001 through July 2009. Overall, Richmond's pass rate has exceeded the statewide rate by an average of 6.8 percentage points for that same time period.
Our associate professor of Academic Success conducted and published a rigorous statistical analysis of the impact of our bar support program on our bar passage rate. See Linda Jellum & Emmeline Paulette Reeves, Cool Data on a Hot Issue: Empirical Evidence that a Law School Bar Support Program Enhances Bar Performance, 5 Nevada Law Journal 646 (Spring 2005) (excerpts reprinted in The Bar Examiner, Vol. 75, No. 1, February 2006).
Bar Preparation Program
Prior to graduation, all of our students have the opportunity to participate, free of charge, in an intensive supplemental bar preparation course. The course runs a full semester and provides a substantive review and intensive test-taking instruction for both the multiple choice and essay portions of the bar exam. The course is not jurisdiction-specific, and it is designed for students planning to sit for the bar in any jurisdiction.
In addition, during the bar study period, two faculty members provide individual tutoring and bar preparation counseling to any and all interested graduates. The faculty tutors meet with graduates weekly and provide substantive instruction, critique practice essays, and advise students on effective bar preparation strategies.
Again, this assistance is provided at no charge to our graduates. The program demonstrates our long-term commitment to our students and to their success in the profession.
Admission to the Bar
Bar admission requirements and deadlines vary in different jurisdictions; you should research the requirements for the jurisdiction in which you wish to practice. Some jurisdictions have filing deadlines many months before the bar exam is administered.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association publishes annually a Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements for every state.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is a 60-question, two-hour-and-five-minute, multiple-choice examination administered three times each year-in November, March, and August.
The MPRE is required in nearly every jurisdiction for admission to the bar, although the passing score and specified time frame vary in different states.
Visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners for more information about the MPRE.
Character and Fitness
All jurisdictions require a character and fitness evaluation prior to admission to the bar.
General information concerning the Character and Fitness requirements is maintained by Vanderbilt University Law School.
Please see below for logistical advice and assistance in filing your Character and Fitness application.
Most bar applications require notarization. We have several notaries in the building; please inquire in the Dean's Office for the current list.
Certificates of legal education, good standing and/or graduation may be required as attachments to your application. The Dean's Office can complete the form or supply a letter, if requested, by the bar. (Virginia bar applicants: see below.)
Some bars require submission of fingerprints. The Dean's Office can provide a Virginia Board of Bar Examiners fingerprint card. Campus Police typically visits the law school in the spring to do fingerprinting.
Most jurisdictions require a copy of your driving record with the Character and Fitness application, available from your state's departments of motor vehicles.
Bar Exam Preparation
Virginia Bar Exam Information
General Information: Virginia Board of Bar Examiners provides information on the bar admission process in Virginia, as well as the Virginia Bar Exam Application and Character and Fitness Form.
Deadlines: Applications for admission to the Virginia bar must be filed no later than May 10 for the July bar exam and Dec. 15 for the February bar exam. The deadlines are strictly enforced, so please read carefully the instructions for filing your application.
Bar Application and Character and Fitness Requirements: The Virginia bar application requires an education certificate. The Dean's Office will send these certificates for all of our students. The Dean's Office also will automatically send graduation certificates to the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners after graduation.
Fingerprints: The Dean's Office can provide a Virginia Board of Bar Examiners fingerprint card. Campus Police typically visits the law school in the spring to do fingerprinting.
Fees: Payment is required at the time of filing and must be made by money order, cashier's check, or certified check made payable to the "Virginia Board of Bar Examiners." For the current fee schedule refer to the Virginia bar Web site. When the questionnaire and application are mailed together in the same envelope, the required fees may be combined in a single payment. If filing the questionnaire early, pay only the questionnaire fee.
Bar Loan Information
For information regarding bar loans, please contact financial aid.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office provides information on the Patent Bar Exam.
For questions about the bar exam or the bar application process, please contact Professor Reeves.