Application & Exam Information
Information about the bar exam and how to apply.
The WSBA requires applicants for the bar exam to file their applications electronically using the Online Admissions System. Applications for the Washington Bar Exam are to be completed and filed online by the application filing deadline. You are required to have an email address in order to access the online application site. Email will be the WSBA's primary communication method with you. In addition to filing the application, you will be able to update your contact information, track the progress of your application, and receive important information about your application. Prior versions of the application will NOT be accepted. This Sample Application has the questions that will be included in the online application. This hard-copy sample application is for preparation purposes only and will not be accepted for applying for the exam.
In addition to filing the application online, all applicants must upload the following documents when complete to the online application prior to submitting the application:
All Attorney Applicants and Foreign Applicants admitted to practice law must upload a Certificate of Good Standing from each jurisdiction to which you are or have ever been admitted to practice.
All documents filed with the WSBA must include your Applicant ID Number. It is preferable that documents and files attached to the application be in PDF format. Please format files so that they are as small as possible.
Additional information is provided in our Application Instructions for Admission.
General Applicants: Applicants who, at the time of filing the application, have never been admitted to the practice of law anywhere in the world and whose first degree in law was earned in the U.S. are considered General Applicants.
Attorney Applicants: Applicants who, at the time of filing the application, have ever been admitted to the practice of law in any U.S. jurisdiction other than Washington are considered Attorney Applicants.
Foreign Applicants: Applicants who have a first degree in law that was not earned in the United States and/or have ever been admitted to the practice of law in any foreign jurisdiction are considered Foreign Applicants.
General Applicants: $585
Foreign Applicants Graduated from Foreign Law Schools (not admitted in any jurisdiction): $585 + NCBE investigation fee
U.S. or Foreign Jurisdiction-Licensed Attorneys: $620 + NCBE investigation fee
Late-Filing Fee (Non-refundable): $300
All Attorney Applicants and Foreign Applicants must submit a separate investigation fee directly to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, using the form provided on the online application site. Complete the NCBE payment form and mail payment with the form directly to the NCBE together with two (2) original signed and notarized Authorization and Release forms.
All applicants are subject to a character and fitness review prior to being admitted to practice law in Washington State. The practice of law is a privilege, not a right. Admission may be withheld pending a hearing before the Character and Fitness Board and final determination regarding whether the applicants have met their burden of proving that they are of good moral character and fit to practice law. Factors considered by Admissions staff and Bar Counsel when determining whether an applicant should be referred to the Character and Fitness Board are set forth in APR 24.2(a).
Washington requires resolution of all character and fitness issues at least 60 days prior to sitting for the bar exam. Applicants with unresolved character and fitness issues will not be permitted to sit for the exam. Therefore, applicants who answer yes to questions 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, 16, 19, 20A, 21, 24, and/or 25 on the application or disclose any information that may raise an issue of character or fitness are strongly encouraged to file their applications early in the registration period. Early filing does not guarantee all issues will be resolved 60 days prior to the exam.
NCBE Report: All Attorney Applicants and Foreign Applicants will have their applications investigated and verified by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). For U.S. attorneys, it generally takes three to four months to receive a report back from the NCBE. For foreign attorneys and applicants with a foreign law degree, it may take up to nine months to receive a report back from the NCBE. Attorney applicants will not be allowed to sit for the exam if the WSBA does not receive a report back from the NCBE at least 18 days prior to the first day of the exam. Therefore, attorney applicants are advised that they may not be able to sit for the exam for which they applied. Furthermore, foreign applicants must apply during the application period for the exam prior to the one they want to sit for. See Application Instructions I.5 for Attorney Applicants and Foreign Applicants who fail the exam and wish to reapply.
All applicants will be given the option to transfer their registration fees and application to the next exam, if the character and fitness review is not complete or the NCBE report is not received by the appropriate deadline. Applicants may also choose to withdraw from the exam and receive a partial refund if the request is made at least 60 days prior to the first day of the exam.
The Bar examination is administered twice a year: in the winter during the last week of February and in the summer during the last week of July.
*Applicants who qualify to sit with an LLM and who have a first degree in law from a foreign jurisdiction are required to file during the application period for the Summer exam occurring before the Winter exam.
**Late filing requires payment of a $300 late filing fee**
Applicants who fail the winter exam only are given an extended registration deadline, for the following summer exam, with no late fee. Please see application instructions for more information.
*Applicants who qualify to sit with an LLM and who have a first degree in law from a foreign jurisdiction are required to file during the application period for the Winter exam occurring before the Summer exam.
The bar exam is held in Tacoma, WA, at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.
If you have a medical, physical, or cognitive disability, you may request that the bar examination be administered under reasonable special conditions to accommodate your needs. You must make your request via the online admissions application site no less than 80 days prior to the first day of the examination and you must support your request with medical documentation.
Standard tables and chairs are provided at the bar exam. Additional items such as pillows, chairs, or special foods or medication that you need to take into the exam room must be requested online at least 18 days in advance of the bar exam and be supported with a doctor's statement. See also the Bar Exam Security Policy.
If you need to update or change any answer on your application, you must notify the WSBA Admissions office using the online supplemental information tool.
Meal and Beverage Planning
The Bar Exam Security Policy provides important information about examination day do's and don'ts. Review these policies before the examination dates; they are strictly enforced.
If you do bring prohibited items to the exam, you will be asked to leave those items at your own risk in a non-secure area designated by the WSBA and the testing facility.
The following hotels have given special rates to applicants taking the Washington State Bar Examination. Arrangements should be made as soon as possible, as space is limited. When making your reservations, you must mention that you are a Washington State Bar Exam applicant.
1320 Broadway Plaza
Tacoma, WA 98402
Courtyard Tacoma Downtown Hotel
1515 Commerce St.
Tacoma, WA 98402
Best Western Tacoma Dome Hotel
2611 East E St.
Tacoma, WA 98421
La Quinta Tacoma Hotel
1425 East 27th St.
Tacoma, WA 98421
Holiday Inn Express & Suites - Tacoma Downtown
2102 South C St.
Tacoma, WA 98402
The Washington State Bar Association does not endorse, approve, recommend, or rate any bar review courses. Please do not contact us for information or names of course providers.
Applicants requesting to use a laptop computer for the exam must register, pay for, and download software from ExamSoft. Applicants using a laptop are required to purchase and download the Examsoft software for each administration of the bar exam, even if they have used it in the past. ExamSoft registration begins approximately six weeks prior to the exam. You will receive an email from Examsoft with your username, password, and instructions at the start of the registration period. After you download the software, the fact that you did so will generally appear on your online record one or two business days later.
Fees paid to ExamSoft are nonrefundable and nontransferable. Go to ExamSoft for more information.
Applicants using a laptop to take the exam must sign a waiver of liability on exam day.
There will be power outlets available at each table for applicants using laptops in the main testing room.
Note: Any discrepancy or conflict between the information provided here and the rules and regulations set by the Washington State Supreme Court, or the bylaws and policies of the Washington State Bar Association, is unintentional and will be resolved in favor of strict compliance with the rules, regulations, bylaws and policies.
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