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Georgia Bar Exam

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Format, Content, & Grading of the Georgia Bar Exam


 

 

 

 

 


All data provided below are subject to change by a decision at any time by the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners.  When any changes are made, they will be posted on this site.

The Georgia Bar Exam is a two-day exam -- Tuesday and Wednesday -- with the essays and performance questions on Tuesday and the MBE on Wednesday.

First Day (Tuesday):  

Four 45-minute Essay Questions
Two 90-minute Multistate Performance Test (MPT) questions
For details on the MPT, click here.

Second Day (Wednesday) morning session: 
3 hours 
Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)
100 Multiple-Choice questions.

Second Day (Wednesday) afternoon session: 
3 hours
Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) 
100 Multiple-Choice questions.

Georgia requires that you sit for the MBE as part of the Georgia bar exam. Georgia does NOT accept your score from an MBE taken in another jurisdiction.

For further details on the MBE, click here.


Subjects Tested on the Georgia Essays:

Business Organizations 
Civil Procedure
Commercial Paper
Family Law
Federal Practice & Procedure
Georgia Practice & Procedure
Non-Monetary Remedies
Professional Ethics
Secured Transactions
Wills, Trusts & Estates
Plus the six MBE subjects


Grading of the Georgia Bar Exam:

Your essays and your MPT are graded, and their scores combined.

Your combined essay/MPT score is then scaled, on the same scaling as the MBE (0 to 200).

The scaled essay/MPT score is then combined with your scaled MBE score.  If the combination equals or exceeds 270 (roughly a 135 on each), you pass.

If your combined score is in the 265-269 range, your essays will be regraded.  But you must have a scaled MBE score of at least 115 for your essays to be read in the first place (A lesser score would make it statistically highly unlikely that you could pass).

Georgia generally releases the results of the Summer exam in late October and the results of the Winter exam in late May.

 

Georgia Bar Exam Pass Rates 
For Georgia Law School
Graduates

 

Summer 2003

Summer 2002

Summer 2001

       

1. Emory

94.1

86.5

94.3

2. Georgia State

92.6

90.0

93.3

3. UGA

91.5

92.8

90.7

4. Mercer

84.5

81.8

89.1

State Pass Rate

75.7

77.6

80.5

    Out-of-State Grads

80.8

80.9

 

    John Marshall

42.8

20.5

 

    Woodrow Wilson*

 

25

 

    Atlanta*

 

0

 

*Woodrow Wilson had only four graduates take the bar 
in Summer 2002, with only one passing.
*Atlanta had only four graduates take the bar 
in Summer 2002, with none passing.

Georgia Bar Exam Details


Admission on Motion 
(i.e., without having to sit for the bar exam)

1. You must be a graduate of an ABA-accredited law school.

2. You must have taken and passed the bar exam and be admitted to the bar of at least one other jurisdiction.  

3. You must have actively practiced law for at least five of the prior seven years.

4. At least one of the other jurisdictions to which you are admitted must have a similar policy by which Georgia attorneys can be admitted without taking that jurisdiction's bar exam.

5. You must never have taken and failed the Georgia Bar Exam.

6. You must never have been disciplined by the bar or other disciplining authority of any U.S. jurisdiction.

7. You must never have been denied a certification of fitness to practice law in Georgia or any other jurisdiction.

Check with the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners for details and filing fees.


For further information, contact:

Board of Bar Examiners
P.O. Box 38466
Atlanta, GA 30334
Telephone: 404-656-3490

Street Address:
244 Washington Street
Suite 440
Atlanta, Georgia 30334


Exam Dates:

Winter 2007
Tuesday and Wednesday,  
February 27 and 28, 2007

Summer 2007

Tuesday and Wednesday, 
July 24 and 25, 2007


Filing Deadlines and Fees


You must apply about eight months before the exam.

Late applications are accepted with added late fees, if they are received by published, late filing deadlines. 

Georgia Filing Deadlines 



Filing deadlines and fees are subject to change.  Contact the
Georgia Bar Examiners to learn the rules in effect at the time of your application.



A Message From the Georgia 
Board of Bar Examiners
On Preparing 
For the Georgia Bar Examination

(revised November 2002)

The Georgia Bar Examination consists of three major parts: (1) the Multistate Bar Examination, which has been developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is administered in virtually every state; (2) the essay examination which is prepared by the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners solely for those applicants taking the Georgia Bar Examination; and (3) the Multistate Performance Test which has been developed by the NCBE but graded by the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners. The multistate examination, which is a multiple choice test consisting of 200 questions, has gained acceptability in virtually all legal circles as a method of testing an applicant's ability to reason and to analyze legal problems. However, the multistate examination is, by its nature, reflective only of an answer, and obviously does not demonstrate the mental processes by which the applicant reached the answer.


The Essay

I. The essay portion of the Examination is designed to test the ability of the applicant to reason and to express himself or herself in writing--like a lawyer. More specifically, the essay examination is designed to test the applicant's ability to recognize and understand the issues suggested by a legal problem, to analyze the problem and apply the principles of law to the issues raised, and to discuss each reasonable approach before reaching a plausible conclusion or answer to the legal problem.

The following is a discussion which may be of assistance to an applicant in preparing for the essay portion of the Georgia Bar Examination.

The legal problems are put to the applicant in four questions of equal value, designed to cover one major area of law, e.g., torts, contracts, tax or constitutional law, or any of the other subjects listed in the Rules; however, the individual question will inevitably also involve areas such as procedure, evidence or damages. The applicant will have 45 minutes to answer each of the four questions.

The applicant should understand that the questions have been carefully prepared by the Examiners to avoid peripheral issues. Questions are never designed to present subtle issues or to be deceptive.

In each question there will be one or more major issues. By way of example, on a recent examination the contracts questions involved the major issues of the statute of frauds and of part performance. It is essential that all such issues be recognized in order that the applicant handle the question properly. If the applicant misses these issues, he or she is likely to go astray on the entire question, expounding principles of law which may be correct but which are not relevant to the problem. A good use of the facts (i.e. indicating how the facts are relevant to the applicable law) is an excellent way to demonstrate your legal analysis to the examiner--that you can "reason like a lawyer." On the other hand, you should not repeat facts just to show that you have read the question. Facts should only be repeated in the answer if they are essential to the discussion of legal principles. However, any assumptions made by the applicant in answering the question should be clearly stated.

After recognizing the issues, the applicant must then apply the various legal principles which are relevant to the issues. The manner in which the applicant applies these legal principles may be handled differently by different applicants, reaching different results. However, if the applicant has gone about the application of legal principles in a logical and well organized manner, then the applicant should pass the question irrespective of what conclusions are reached. Applicants are well aware that many of the cases before the Supreme Court of the United States are decided on a 5-4 basis; therefore, four distinguished jurists did not have the "right answer." Thus, to reemphasize, the method by which the applicant arrives at the answer is of the greatest importance, the examiner being less interested in where one ends up than how one got there.

In dealing both with the issues and with the principles of law, the applicant should be mindful of the priority which is assigned to each. For example, if the main principle of law related to a particular issue is thrown in at the end of a list of three or four other viable but less pertinent points, it suggests a lack of clear legal analysis. One of the problems in the practice of law is the inability of a lawyer to recognize a number of viable points related to a problem and to distinguish those points which are important from those which are insignificant.

The applicant should spend more time in organizing and outlining the answer than in writing the answer. This procedure will help in analyzing the question more carefully and will allow a response to the question which is clear and concise. The applicant has ample time to consider the problem and to write a complete answer since 45 minutes are allowed for each question. Many low grades are due to misreading or misinterpreting the facts. Applicants can avoid this problem by carefully reading the question and digesting the facts before beginning to write an answer.

Essential to the presentation of a clear and concise answer is the proper use of the English language, including punctuation and paragraphing. The inability to express oneself effectively in writing is a serious handicap for a lawyer. Such inability presents a serious difficulty to a lawyer in dealing with legal matters and with presentations in court.

Both from a procedural and a substantive standpoint, the applicant should avoid references to personal experiences or philosophies. One should avoid discussions beginning with "I feel...;" "If I were the judge...;" "My own thoughts are...." The applicant should also avoid attempts at being cute or funny. Likewise, both slang and other "street language" should be avoided. The examination is a serious exercise for all concerned.

Many times the question will end with a numbered set of issues to be addressed (the "Call of the Question"). To the extent possible the applicant should address these issues in the order they are presented; but, in any case, always number the responses so that they correspond to the numbered issues. Do not force the examiner to guess which part of the question is being answered. Also, the applicant should avoid using abbreviations to the extent possible, especially those utilized in taking law school notes (i.e. D for defendant, P for plaintiff, etc.). Do not assume that the examiner will understand abbreviations or other shorthand notations.

If an applicant is interested in particular suggestions to prepare for the essay portion of the examination, the following steps might be considered:

  1. Review the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law which have been provided to each applicant by the Office of Bar Admissions and which set forth very precisely the areas of law upon which the examination will be founded. The applicant should be concerned if he or she has no knowledge of any one of these areas, and should take whatever actions are necessary to be familiar with all areas which may be tested.

  2. Examine past bar examinations to get a feel for the style of the questions. The applicant may attempt to write his or her own answers to these past questions. The Office of Bar Admissions has published answers to some recent bar exam questions. These answers, as well as copies of past exam questions, can be requested by calling the State Law Library (404-656-3468).

It should be noted that nothing in the way of specific preparation for the examination will substitute for a clear understanding of the legal principles which should have been learned in the individual courses in law school.

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