California ​Bar Exam Information

Practicing Law in California

In order to be admitted to practice law in California you must:

The full list of requirements and descriptions can be found on the State Bar of California Admission Requirements webpage.

Bar Exam Preparation Strategy Meetings

The Office for Academic Success and Bar Programs is available to assist current USD law students with any and all questions relating to the bar exam, moral character application, MPRE and general study strategies.

Bar Certifications

The Office of the Law School Registrar prepares bar certifications for various purposes and various jurisdictions. If you are considering taking a bar exam in a jurisdiction other than California, please be aware that you may be responsible for providing the Registrar's Office with the documentation needed to certify you to sit for that bar exam. The State Bar of California provides USD School of Law with this documentation directly after you apply to take the California bar exam.

One & Done Checklist

Bar Exam Resources and Programming

The bar exam might seem far away, but your preparation starts now. In just a few steps each year, you can position yourself to successfully pass the bar exam when the time comes. Do it once, do it right – be One & Done!

1L/1P

2L/2P

  • Add upper-level bar subjects to your course schedule (we recommend prioritizing Evidence, Constitutional Law II and Criminal Procedure I; meet with an academic advisor if you have questions)
  • Take the MPRE (treat studying for this exam seriously; about 25% of MPRE takers nationwide fail to achieve CA’s minimum score requirement)
  • Get fingerprinted via Live Scan for moral character application (only if you plan to submit early; fingerprints will expire after 90 days)
  • Begin working on your moral character application and submit (can also submit no later than 3L fall; start early if you have concerns)
  • Attend the USD Intro to the Bar Exam event in spring
  • Continue saving money for your bar prep period

3L/4P

  • Attend the USD Bar Prep Kickoff event in fall
  • Take the MPRE in fall (if you have not already)
  • Attend a one-on-one bar counseling meeting with ASBP team in your last semester
  • Register to take the Bar Exam (deadlines vary by jurisdiction)
  • Get fingerprinted via Live Scan for moral character application 
  • Submit your moral character application in fall, or earlier
  • Enroll in USD's Multistate Bar Exam Review in spring
  • Enroll in USD's Fundamentals of Bar Exam Writing in spring
  • Attend the USD Bar Prep Boot Camp in spring
  • Continue saving money for your bar prep period, apply for bar loans and bar scholarships
  • Attend individual loan repayment and debt counseling session with the Office of Financial Aid in February

Post-Grad Summer

  • Complete your commercial bar exam prep course (work each day towards your goal, persevere through challenging material, and don't give up!)
  • Add our bar takers TWEN page for all USD bar prep materials
  • Supplement your bar prep course with additional essays and PTs each week
  • Attend USD’s Essay and PT Writing Workshops throughout the bar prep period
  • Attend the USD Bar Exam Simulation event
  • Attend the USD Check-In Lunch event
  • Attend our bar prep drop-in office hours or schedule a meeting for individual advice, support, and help

Optional Resources and Discounts

  • ASBP will be providing various resources for you throughout the bar prep period, designed to work in tandem with your commercial bar prep program so continue to check your USD email address throughout the summer.
  • Talk with a member of the ASBP team if you think you need anything additional, they will have insight as to what is worth spending money on, and what is not!
  • Learn more about the One & Done pogram here