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The Bar Exam
Before practicing law, an individual must be admitted to the bar of the state in which he or she wishes to practice. While each state determines its own requirements for admission to the bar, most states require an individual to (1) earn a J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school, (2) pass the state bar examination, (3) pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, and (4) possess the requisite character and fitness required to practice law.
Admission to the bar of one state may allow a lawyer to be admitted to the bar of another state without taking another bar examination, but this is not guaranteed. Applicants should consult the bar admission rules of each jurisdiction in which they wish to be licensed.
The Texas Bar Exam
In Texas, admission to the bar is governed by the Board of Law Examiners. The Texas Bar Examination (TBE) is a two and a half day exam. The TBE consists of four parts: the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), Procedure & Evidence (P&E), Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), and Texas Essays.
The TBE uses a scaled score system and a score of 675, out of 1000, or higher is required to pass. The MPT and the P&E are each worth 10%, and the MBE and Essays are each worth 40%.
- The MPT tests an applicant’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation by completing a task that a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish. The MPT consists of one 90-minute question, in which the examinee is furnished with a file of source documents and a library of research materials to be used in accomplishing the task.
- The P&E portion contains forty (40) short answer questions on Texas and federal procedure and evidence, twenty (20) questions on civil procedure and evidence, and twenty (20) questions on criminal procedure and evidence.
- The MBE is a multiple-choice test. It contains approximately 190 questions that are used to calculate an applicant’s score and another 10 questions that are being pretested for future exams.
- The TBE also includes twelve (12) Texas Essay questions. Each essay question is graded on a scale where 25 is the highest possible score and 0 is the lowest possible score.