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25 Things You'll Need When Applying for the Bar Exam

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

The bar exam sucks. But you know what sucks almost as much? Filling out the application for the bar exam.

Because states want to make sure they aren't admitting a three-time felon or any other deviants, they make you provide an insane amount of personal information that you probably don't have access to, like the name of your supervisor at your two-month-long pizza delivery gig back in high school (a guy who certainly doesn't work there anymore).

It's a nightmare. And it's expensive as hell, even more so if you take the time to fill out your application carefully and the deadline passes. We've been through it, some of us multiple times, so we thought that a big list of (hopefully) everything you'll need for the application (besides cash) would come in handy. (H/T to the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners for providing many of these.) Of course, each state has its own requirements, but this checklist should cover almost everything:

25. Social Security number.

24. Credit report.

23. DMV records from every state you've ever had a license in.

22. Every address you've lived at since you were 18. (For those of us who moved nearly every year in college, that's a lot. Protip: Check your old Amazon and PayPal shipping addresses, or your credit report.)

21. Every job you've ever had (including supervisors, pay, location, contact information. Again, this sucks if you worked a few different part-time jobs while in school).

20. Every school you've ever attended (addresses, phone numbers, etc.).

19. Any school disciplinary records.

18. Transcripts from your college and law school (sent directly to the bar).

17. Birth certificate or other proof of citizenship.

16. MPRE score report (if you've already taken it).

15. National Conference of Bar Examiners number (if you have one; if not, you'll have to register).

14. Fingerprint (cards or electronic, depending on the state).

13. Certificate of Good Standing (from any state where you're already admitted).

12. Marriage certificates or divorce decrees (to explain any name changes).

11. Court records (depending on the state, this could apply even if it was a misdemeanor, an expunged offense, or even an arrest without charges).

10. Bankruptcy petitions.

9. Defaulted student loan documentation. (What, you didn't read our series on student loan debt?)

8. Passport-sized photos.

7. Parents' contact information.

6. Emergency contact information.

5. Military (especially discharge) records.

4. Any failed or abandoned bar exams (in any state).

3. Records of any other professional licenses (real estate, nursing, physician, etc.).

2. Information on any delinquent debts.

1. Information on any physical, mental, or substance abuse issues that could interfere with your ability to practice law.

Yeah, that's quite the list. The test almost seems like the easy part at this point, doesn't it?

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