Michigan Bar Exam Information

Created by the Michigan legislature, the State Board of Law Examiners (BLE) is tasked with the investigation and examination of aspiring lawyers wishing to practice law in the state of Michigan. The Michigan Bar Exam is administered twice a year and requires applicants to complete a multiple-choice exam as well as an essay portion. The BLE also allows out of state attorneys to petition for admittance without examination.

Exam Dates:July 28th & 29th, 2020*
Exam Type:2-day Bar Exam
Location:Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Application Fee:$400
On-Motion Application Fee:$1,300
Filing Deadline:March 1st, 2020
Late Filing Deadline:May 15th, 2020
Late Fee:$100

When is the 2020 Michigan Bar Exam?

The Michigan Bar Exam is scheduled to be administered on the 28th and 29th of July, 2020. These dates are subject to change due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Individuals planning to take the test should make sure to monitor the Michigan Board of Law Examiners website for the most current information regarding venues and scheduling.

Unlike many states, Michigan has not fully adopted the Universal Bar Exam(UBE) format, instead choosing to combine the multistate multiple-choice exam with an extensive essay portion that tests applicants extensively on Michigan law. Attendance for both full-day sessions is required to complete the exam.

Where is the Michigan Bar Exam located?

The Michigan Bar Exam is scheduled to be held at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center located on the campus of Michigan State University at 534 Birch Road,  East Lansing, Michigan 48824. Consult the venue website for directions and information on parking and nearby accommodations.

How much does the Michigan Bar Exam cost?

The standard fee for first-time examinees taking the Michigan Bar Exam is $400. Applications sent after the filing deadline of March 1st will incur an additional $100 late fee. Applicants must also submit to and pay for a character investigation. The fee for this is $375 with an additional $175 late fee added after the March 1st deadline.

What subjects are tested on the Michigan Bar Exam?

The multiple-choice portion of the exam includes questions on conflict of laws, civil procedure, family law, constitutional law and evidence, torts, contract law, trusts and estates, business associations, real property, criminal law, and criminal procedure. The essay portion of the exam tests many of the same topics, but with a specific focus on Michigan-specific law.

What is the format of the Michigan Bar Exam?

The Michigan Bar Exam combines the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) that is issued by the National Conference of Bar Examiners with a full-day essay examination prepared by the Michigan Board of Law Examiners.

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

Applicants do not need to have taken the MPRE before taking the admittance exam, but a scaled score of 85 or higher is required in order to finalize the licensing process.

How is the Michigan Bar Exam graded?

There are a total of 200 questions on the multiple-choice exam, with one point being given per correct response. There are 15 essay questions with a possible 10 points awarded per question. An applicant must achieve a total score of 270 or greater in order to pass.

When are the Michigan Bar scores released?

Scores for the July entrance exam will be released online and by mail in mid-November. The  Michigan Board of Law Examiners stresses that results are not provided over the phone.

Can I transfer my MBE scores from another jurisdiction?

Yes. Applicants may transfer their MBE scores from another jurisdiction by providing the proper paperwork and paying a fee of $100. These applicants will still need to pass the essay section of the exam and pass the character and fitness investigation.

What is the Michigan Reciprocity Agreement like?

Yes. Lawyers who have practiced law in another state or territory the United States who intend to practice law in the state of Michigan may apply for admission without examination. In order to qualify for this exemption, an attorney must have actively practiced law for at least 3 of the last five years.

How can I contact the Michigan State Bar?

The Michigan State Bar can be contacted by phone during business hours by calling  (517) 346-6300, via email through their contact form, or by mail addressed to:

State Bar of Michigan

306 Townsend Street
Lansing, Michigan 48933

Useful Links