The Washington D.C. Bar Exam

Panorama of the west facade of United States Supreme Court Building at dusk in Washington, D.C., USA.

The Washington D.C. Bar Exam is administered by the Committee on Admission of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Washington D.C. has adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and offers the exam twice a year, in February and July. 

Eligibility

UChicago Law graduates will be eligible for the Washington D.C. bar exam based on completion of their JD degree. Applicants are not able to sit for the D.C. bar exam prior to degree completion. 

Bar Application

The D.C. Bar Exam Application opens about 2-3 months before the exam and closes when spots are filled. The Committee will announce the date the application will open for each exam on their website. During the application period, applicants will need to:

  • Create an online account.
  • Complete the Electronic Application - Applicants can browse the forms that will be required for the application on the Committees webpage.
  • Pay the required fees.
  • Print the District of Columbia Authorization and Release form and sign it in the presence of a notary (Forms notarized on-line are acceptable). Scan and save the notarized A&R as a PDF document. The properly signed and notarized A&R PDF must be uploaded to your account by the published deadline.
  • Submit the required Supplemental Documentation
  • Submit a picture according to the Committee’s requirements.
  • Submit the Attestation as Bonafide applicant - A bona-fide applicant is an applicant who intends to apply for admission to the District of Columbia. Applicants who do not plan to practice in D.C. are not encouraged to apply for the bar exam in D.C.

Accommodations

The Accommodations request application period generally opens a few weeks prior to the Bar exam application period. Applications seeking accommodations are encouraged to look over the Guidance for documentation and begin obtaining documentation and completing the Request for District of Columbia Bar Examination Testing Accommodations early.

Character and Fitness

Character and Fitness investigations for Washington D.C are handled by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE)

  • Within 7-10 business days after filing your application with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, you will receive an email from the NCBE with instructions on how to submit payment for the background investigation. Note that although your filed application is sufficient for applying to sit for the bar exam, the background investigation is required for your character and fitness review. 
  • The Registrar’s office will only need to complete Character and Fitness report that will be sent from the NCBE.

MPRE 

All applicants who pass the bar examination must also take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), before they may be admitted to practice law in D.C. The passing score in D.C. for the MPRE is 75. Applicants do not have to pass the MPRE before taking the bar exam, but will not be admitted to the bar until a passing score is obtained. Consider taking the MPRE well in advance of the bar exam to prevent delays in admission. 

 

Laptop Program

In order to use a laptop for the bar exam, applicants must register for the Laptop program. Software for the exam is provided by a third party and applicants must register directly with the software vendor and pay during the registration period which is approximately 3 to 6 weeks before the exam.