Bar Examination and Application Checklist: First Year

Here are the steps that you should complete in your first year in order to prepare for success on the bar examination when you graduate:

  • Examine/review the requirements of the jurisdiction(s) where I plan to take the bar exam.
    • for a jurisdiction with an early registration requirement, understand that application fees will be considerably higher if not registered in the first year.
    • for New York, there is a 60-hours-during-law school pro bono requirement.
  • Learn to write and present legal analysis in a clear and organized manner.
    • learn IRAC (or CREAC or their equivalents) as a method for presenting the legal analysis of a problem.
  • Review my performance on final exams and mid-terms with my law school professors. If having trouble writing successful exams, ask for help in writing a better exam.
  • Learn to write legal analysis in a clear and organized fashion.
  • Determine what subjects will be tested on the bar exam(s) that I plan to take.
  • Consider the bar exam requirements when choosing courses during the remaining years of my legal education. If one has to learn most of the content tested on the bar exam during the summer before the bar exam, it makes bar preparation more difficult and stressful. However, course selection can and should involve other important factors such as general interest and practice interest and that all courses that help me learn legal analysis and writing will be helpful, even if the subject matter is not covered on the bar exam.
  • Look into commercial bar review courses. Signing up in the first year results in a lower cost, and deposits paid to one company are generally honored by other companies.
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