If you wish to have a successful career as a lawyer in Georgia, you must pass the bar exam. However, not just everyone can take it. To be eligible to take the bar exam in the Peach State, you must have a law degree from an American Bar Association-accredited law school. Examples of ABA-accredited law schools in Georgia include Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and the University of Georgia School of Law, but candidates who graduated from an ABA-accredited law school in another state are also eligible to take the test.
A law degree is one of a few requirements needed to take the bar exam in Georgia. You must also:
- Pass a character and fitness evaluation, which includes submitting a detailed application and undergoing a background check.
- Either be a resident of Georgia or have graduated from a Georgia law school
- Be at least 18 years old
Once you meet these eligibility requirements, you become eligible to take the Georgia Bar Exam, which consists of a multistate bar exam, a state-specific essay exam and a state-specific ethics exam.
What Is the Bar Exam?
The bar exam is a standardized test that is administered by each state’s bar association to determine whether someone is qualified to practice law in that state.
There are generally two parts to almost every state’s bar exam. The first of those parts is a written exam and the other part is the multiple-choice exam.
The Written Exam
The written or essay exam is part of every state’s bar exam. There are a few significant differences between the essays students write in law school and the essay a law school graduate must write for the bar exam.
In law school, students are presented with a single subject at a time. Conversely, on the bar exam, you will be given a series of questions, each of them on a different subject like torts, wills and civil procedure. It’s even possible to get more than one subject within the same question.
Some (not all) law school professors aren’t sticklers on essay structure, like requiring you to include a compelling and well-thought-out conclusion. The bar examiners will judge you on those things.
The last component of the written part of the bar exam is a performance test. Here, you’re given all the materials you need to create an attorney-like work product, like a brief or memo. This last aspect of the written exam is meant to test your ability to use your attorney skills in a real-life work environment.
Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)
The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is a standardized multiple-choice exam that is administered as part of the bar exam in most U.S. states (it is administered in Georgia). Although the norm across the U.S. is to weigh the MBE portion of the bar exam at 50 percent of the candidate’s score, each state has discretion to determine how much the MBE should be weighted in calculating their final score.
The MBE takes place on Wednesday of the bar exam. Participants are given 100 multiple-choice questions during the first three-hour segment of the day. After lunch break, the test resumes and participants are given the next 100 questions they must answer within the next three-hour segment.
The 200 total questions cover seven subjects:
- Criminal law and procedure
- Constitutional law
- Real property
- Civil procedure
What Is the Passing Score for the Bar Exam in Georgia?
The bar exam is a pass/fail exam, meaning your score doesn’t have to be perfect but you do need to pass the required threshold to become licensed to practice law in Georgia. The combined passing score for the Georgia bar exam is 270 out of a possible 400 points.
Aside from passing the bar exam, you’ll need to meet additional eligibility requirements, including graduating from law school and passing a character and fitness evaluation. The latter means you must prove you have no history of unlawful conduct, academic misconduct, neglect of financial and legal obligations or violation of a court order.
Have You Recently Passed the Bar Exam and Are Ready to Begin Your Career as a Lawyer in Atlanta?
At the Dressie Law Firm, we’re always on the lookout for budding attorneys looking to put their talent and dedication to work on behalf of clients.