The path to register for the bar exam has many steps that help verify and prepare each student for the big day. Below is a list of requirements that arise from their first year to the exam.
Declaration of Intent to Study Law
According to the Texas Board of Law Examiners:
The Declaration of Intention to Study Law form is to be filed by all persons who have begun their law study at ABA-approved schools in Texas to pursue a Juris Doctorate degree and who intend to apply for licensure in Texas. Do not file this form until you have actually started law school. Do not submit a Declaration of Intent if you are not (or will not be) applying as a non-attorney graduate of an ABA-approved law school in Texas.
Declarations should be submitted as follows:
- Fall entrants: October 1
- Spring entrants: May 1
- Entrants transferred from out-of-state schools: within 60 days of matriculation at a Texas law school.
Standard 504 – Qualifications for Admission to the Bar
In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination
According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners:
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), developed by NCBE, is a two-hour, 60-question multiple-choice examination that is administered three times per year. The purpose of the MPRE is to measure candidates’ knowledge and understanding of established standards related to the professional conduct of lawyers.
It is required on top of the Texas Bar Exam for all students.
The rules governing admission to the State Bar of Texas permit a person to sit for the bar exam if they have graduated with a J.D. degree or has satisfied all J.D. requirements “except for no more than four credit hours…” Accordingly, a student may be certified to take the Texas Bar Exam before graduation, if the student has met the requirements of the “86-hour Rule” and has settled all balances on their account.
Students who plan to take the bar exam under the “86-hour rule” must adhere to the following:
- The required 86 hours must be indicated on the student’s official record by the end of the fall semester for the February exam and by the end of the spring semester for the July exam.
- A student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.300 to be certified for the exam.
- If a student takes the bar exam before graduation, they may not receive final grades in time to be sworn in with other successful bar candidates. Grades are due 28 days after the date of the last final examination. The law school does not request early grades. Student Services & Support certifies a candidate as a graduate upon receipt and posting of all grades and verification that all graduation requirements have been met. The certification date may not be earlier than the day after the official date of graduation.
The Office of Student Services has collected a myriad of on and off-campus resources for students to learn more about and prepare for the bar exam.
NCBE & BLE
These associations are dedicated to providing resources and information on a broad scale level and where most attention regarding Bar Exam registration and sitting on the exam will be found:
Student Bar Association
Location: Suite 400C
All students who are enrolled in the law school are members of the South Texas Student Bar Association (SBA). The SBA encourages and supervises student activities at the law school, and acts as an advocate for all students. In addition, the SBA sponsors numerous events throughout the school year to promote student-faculty relations, including fund-raisers for charity, community service projects and the Spring Student Awards Banquet and Dinner Dance.
To find out more about the SBA, the SBA’s Board, or the Outline Bank, go to:
- Student Bar Association
- American Bar Association/Law Student Division
- The State Bar of Texas/Law Student Division
STCL Bar Courses
South Texas College of Law offers and encourages an abundance of courses during their time on campus that prepare them for every aspect of the bar exam, which include:
- Professional Responsibility
- First Amendment Law
- Wills, Trusts, & Estates
- Secured Transactions
- Family Law
- Agency & Partnership
- Criminal Procedure
- Customer Bankruptcy & Debt Collection
- Bar Preview Program
- Advanced Legal Skills
Graduates who are attempting to become certified to practice law in another state must take that state’s bar exam. As a part of the registration process, exam takers must complete an Educational Records Release Form to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a copy of the certification form for their state of interest to be completed and mailed and/or emailed out.