Qualifications for Taking the Bar Exam
How do I qualify to take the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in Washington?
To take the Washington Bar Exam, you must meet the qualifications stated in APR 3. In all cases, you must establish that you possess good moral character and the requisite fitness to practice law.
To qualify to take the bar exam, you must have:
All bar-exam 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 and have met the Essential Eligibility Requirements. See APR 20-24.3. 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 21.
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 disclose information that may raise an issue of character or fitness are strongly encouraged to file their applications early. Early filing does not guarantee all issues will be resolved 60 days prior to the exam.
NCBE Report: Applications of all attorney applicants and foreign law school applications will be 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 from an NCBE investigation. For foreign attorneys and applicants with a foreign law degree, it may take up to nine months to receive a report from the NCBE. Attorney applicants may sit for the exam only after the WSBA receives a report 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 eligible to sit for the exam they applied for. Furthermore, foreign attorneys and applicants with a foreign law degree must apply during the application period for the exam scheduled prior to their preferred exam time (see Application Filing Deadlines).
All applicants have the option to transfer registration fees and application to the next scheduled exam if the character-and-fitness review is not complete or the NCBE report is not received by 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.
Note: Any discrepancy or conflict between the information provided here and the rules and regulations set by the Washington 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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