1L Bar Preparation

Bar exam preparation does not have to wait until your 3L year or even until you know where you plan to take the bar exam. Use this page as a way to slowly begin preparing for the bar exam application. Starting early will help prevent delays and ensure a smooth application process.

Compile your Documentation

During your 1L year, you can start compiling your application information in one place. Bar applications will ask for information as listed below. Some for up to the past 10 years. Keep or obtain records so that it is easily accessible when you complete your application.

  • Past Addresses
  • Employment History
  • Education History
  • Financial History
  • Credit History
  • Driving Record

Keep Track of References

Think about who you will want to list as references on your application. You do not need to reach out to them right now about the reference, but make sure you have a way to keep in touch or stay up to date on their contact information. Also as you start your law school career, think about how to develop relationships that could serve as future recommenders.

Character and Fitness

Just as was asked on your law school application, your bar application will ask you to disclose any charges, convictions, violations, misconduct, etc. whether or not they can be discovered through a background investigation. Having disclosures will not automatically prevent you from being admitted to the bar. If there are any records you need to find/disclose, please reach out sooner rather than later. Having the records now could prevent delays later on. Any questions or concerns about disclosures can be discussed with the Registrar’s Office. Read the NCBE’s summary of Character and Fitness Determinations by Jurisdiction.

Register as a Law Student in California

If you are planning to apply for application to the California Bar, California recommends that you register as a Law Student during your 1L year. Registering as a law student is required in order to apply to take the California Bar. There is a fee and processing time that is involved with this application, so please be sure to take that into consideration in the overall timeline of your bar application process.