Illinois Bar Exam Information

The governing body controlling the licensing of legal professionals in Illinois is called the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar. This board consists of seven members appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court and is tasked with making sure lawyers practicing in Illinois are competent, ethical, and worthy of public trust. As part of these duties, the board oversees the state bar exam, which is offered twice each year. Keep reading for the specific details of the Illinois Bar Exam.

Exam Dates:July 28th & 29th, 2020*
Exam Type:2-day UBE
Location:Chicago, IL
Application Fee:$950
On-Motion Application Fee:$1,250
Filing Deadline:February 15th, 2020
Late Filing Deadline:May 15th, 2020
Late Fee:$200-$500

When is the 2020 Illinois Bar Exam?

The final Universal Bar Exam to be administered in the state of Illinois for 2020 is scheduled to be held on July 28th and 29th in Chicago. Due to unpredictability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the dates and venue for the July 2020 exam are subject to change. Interested parties should keep checking the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar announcements page for current information.

Illinois requires all new law school graduates to take the Universal Bar Exam (UBE). This exam is coordinated on a national level by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is taken in three sections. There is a multiple-choice section, an essay exam, and a practical performance test.

Where is the Illinois Bar Exam located?

The testing location of the Illinois Bar Exam is regularly moved between various Chicago locations. The location for the July 2020 exam has not yet been announced.

How much does the Illinois Bar Exam cost?

The application fee for a first-time applicant to the Illinois Bar Exam is $950. There is a late fee between $200 and $500 assessed to applications postmarked after the initial filing deadline. Attorneys from out of state wishing to be admitted on motion must pay an application fee of $1,250.

What subjects are tested on the Illinois Bar Exam?

The subjects tested on the Universal Bar Exam include, but are not limited to criminal procedure, real property, contract law, torts, conflict of laws, trusts and estates, civil procedure, criminal law, business associations, family law, and constitutional law and evidence.

What is the format of the Illinois Bar Exam?

The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar has fully adopted the Universal Bar Exam (UBE) format. The exam includes the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), and the Multistate Professional Test (MPT).

What is the minimum MPRE score needed to take the Illinois Bar Exam?

Applicants to the Illinois Bar do not need to take the MPRE before sitting for the Illinois Bar Exam. However, a minimum scaled score of 80 on the is required before an applicant’s admission to the bar can be finalized.

How is the Illinois Bar Exam graded?

The Illinois Bar Exam uses the standard Univeral Bar Exam grading format created by the NCBE. This means that the MBE represents 50% of the final score with the MEE and MPT counting for 30% and 20%. A total score of 266 is required to pass.

When are the Illinois Bar scores released?

Scores for the Illinois Bar Exam are mailed to examinees approximately 6-8 weeks from the date of the exam.

Can I transfer my MBE scores from another jurisdiction?

Yes. The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar allows applicants to transfer scores from exams taken in other jurisdictions. This includes both MBE and UBE scores.

What is the Illinois Reciprocity Agreement like?

Illinois allows attorneys engaged in the active practice of law for at least 3 of the past 5 years to apply for admission to the Illinois Bar Association without having to sit for the exam. Persons having practiced law for fewer than 15 years are also required to have a valid MPRE score on file to be considered.

How can I contact the Illinois State Bar?

The Illinois State Board of Admissions to the Bar can be contacted using the “Contact Us” section of their website, via telephone at (217) 552-3728, or by mail addressed to:
Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar
625 South College Street
Springfield, IL 62704

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