The Alabama Bar Exam
The Alabama Bar Exam adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE®) format and began administering it in July 2011. The UBE was developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®) and is divided into three sections—the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE®). To be accepted to the Alabama Bar, candidates must successfully complete an online course on Alabama law following successful completion of the bar exam.
Bar candidates that may want to eventually practice law in another state benefit from score portability between the 41 jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE. This article provides everything you need regarding AL Bar Exam results, dates, deadlines, requirements, fees, applications, historical passing rates, and more.
Alabama Bar Exam Structure
The Uniform Bar Exam is administered over two days and consists of a writing section (MPT/MEE) and a multiple-choice section (MBE).
- Day 1 : MPT/MEE
- Day 2 : MBE
The MBE is weighted at 50% of the UBE, making it the most heavily weighted section of the Alabama Exam. Examinees will have two 3-hour sessions to answer 200 multiple-choice questions.
The MEE is weighted at 30% of the UBE and is administered on day one. Examinees have 3 hours to answer six 30-minute essay questions.
The MPT is weighted at 20% of the UBE and is administered on day one. Examinees are provided faux case files imitating realistic scenarios and a folder with various legal documents, which they must use to respond to assignments.
Alabama Bar Exam Dates, Requirements, and Scheduling
Filing your Alabama Bar Exam on time is critical as Alabama does not have a late filing period. You cannot sit for the AL Bar Exam if you miss the application period. Examinee's who fail their exam have ten days from the release of results to apply for the next administration.
Examinees can begin filing their applications for the Alabama Bar exam from September 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023, for the 2023 February and July exams, respectively.
|Filing Periods||February 21-22, 2023||July 26-27, 2023|
|Application Opens||September 1, 2022||January 1, 2023|
|Final Filing||October 1, 2022||February 1, 2023|
To sit for the Alabama bar exam you must have proof that you've met prelegal education requirements and have graduated from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), the Association of American Law Schools, or graduated from one of the following Alabama law schools
- Birmingham School of Law
- Miles Law School
- Jones School of Law (before June 11, 2006)
Individuals who have graduated from a non-ABA-approved law school outside of Alabama may sit for the bar exam if all of the following criteria are met:
- Admitted to practice law in the state or jurisdiction of the law school
- Has continuously practiced law for the five years preceding application
- Is in good standing in their jurisdiction
- The law school's jurisdiction extends comity to Alabama graduates of non-ABA-approved Alabama law schools
Applicants must be deemed of sound character and fitness by the Alabama Committee on Character and Fitness. You may receive your certification of character and fitness and sit for the bar exam at the same time. Furthermore, you may be required to make a personal appearance before the Committee before or after your bar exam appointment.
To schedule your Alabama Bar Exam appointment, you must register with the Alabama State Bar admissions office online. You must also have a number issued by the NCBE or request one and fill out the Character and Fitness Questionnaire. Please see the LSR Paper Items Packet form if you plan to apply for a UBE score transfer.
Alabama Bar Exam Cost and Fees
If you apply to take the Alabama Bar Exam, we recommend submitting your application early, as there are no opportunities for late filing. Alabama requires that law students and others seeking admission to the Alabama State Bar submit a registration of intent to apply within 60 days following the commencement of their law school studies by completing an online application. This registration fee increases the longer students wait (see fee schedule below).
|Timely First Time Application||$575|
|Timely Re-application Application||$575|
|Other Application Fees|
|UBE Score Transfer Applicants||$875|
|Rule III Reciprocity Applicants||$875|
|Law student non-registration fee 60 days||$50|
|Law student non-registration fee 180 days||$100|
|Law student non-registration fee 390 days||$250|
|Character and Fitness Determination Investigation||$575|
|Postponement of Examination||$100|
|Laptop Testing Fee||$107|
|Laptop Testing Late Registration Fee||$50|
Application fees are non-refundable. There are no exceptions. Applicants who withdraw from the bar exam can carry their application fee forward to a new administration but must pay the difference if the fee has increased. Payments are made when you apply for the Alabama Bar Exam online.
After all is said and done, fees for the Alabama Bar Exam reach well over $1,000. Fortunately, there are cost-saving options available for those in need. The Alabama Law Foundation is a charitable organization that makes annual grants and provides scholarships aimed at providing financial aid for law-related education. The following three scholarships are specifically aimed at funding law school:
- Cabaniss Johnston Scholarship - $5,000 for academically outstanding second-year law students.
- Justice Jaine L. Shores Scholarship - Awarded to one or more female Alabama resident(s) attending an Alabama law school.
- W. Verbon Black Scholarship - Assists full-time students at the University of Alabama School of Law.
Alabama Bar Exam Subjects and Topics
The AL bar exam tests an examinee's ability to analyze and reason alongside their knowledge and understanding of fundamental legal principles. Furthermore, since Alabama has adopted the UBE, a successful exam score represents one's competency and readiness to practice law in the 40 other participating jurisdictions.
MEE: Testable Subjects
The MEE consists of six essay questions. Each question involves one or more of the subjects listed below. Some subjects may be paired together. Other subjects could be omitted. While it's impossible to know which subjects the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®) will choose on any given exam version, some have been tested more frequently than others historically.
For example, Civil Procedure has appeared on nearly every MEE in the past decade, while Criminal Law has only appeared several times. However, subjects that occur less frequently on their own may be paired with others. Our MEE Study Guide and Prep Tips provides all the details you need to focus your studies on what's essential and use your time efficiently.
- Business Associations
- Civil Procedure
- Conflict of Laws
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Family Law
- Real Property
- Secured Transactions
- Trusts and Estates
Check out our MEE Subject Matter Outline for detailed explanations of MEE subjects and sub-topics.
MBE: Testable Subjects
The MBE is administered in two three-hour sessions on Wednesday (Day 2) of the bar exam. It is scored on a 200-point scale and presents candidates with 200 multiple-choice questions spanning the following MBE subjects, broken down into 25 questions per subject:
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law/Procedure
- Federal Civil Procedure
- Real Property
Your dedicated Themis attorney will personally grade your essays and provide feedback.
MPT: Testable Items
The MPT consists of closed-universe practical questions with instructions, factual data, cases, statutes, and other reference material supplied by examiners. Candidates will answer two cases presenting simulated real-life scenarios occurring in the fictional jurisdiction of "Franklin." These tasks are designed for examinees to demonstrate their lawyering skills, using only the materials provided by the bar examiners. Each case is assessed on a 6-point scale, with a 6 being the highest possible score and a 0 being the lowest possible score.
Alabama Bar Exam Scoring/Grading
To be admitted to the Alabama Bar, applicants must pass the UBE with a minimum scaled score of 260 out of 400. Exam weightage is divided between the three sections:
MEE and MPT scores are combined and scaled out of 200. Therefore, the writing section (MEE/MPT) and the multiple-choice section (MBE) each comprise 50% of your total UBE scaled score (or 200 points each). If you do poorly on one exam section, you can make up for it on the other, as long as these scores combine to a sum of 260 or more.
Note that your raw score is not the same as your scaled score. For example, getting 130 of 200 MBE questions correct does not necessarily mean you've earned 130 scaled points. Scaled scoring is employed to ensure fairness across exam versions. This scoring model is true for all three sections of the bar exam.
For example, July's exam may be more difficult than February's. It would be unfair to allow someone to pass or fail based on the relative difficulty of their exam version. Therefore, examinees' raw scores are transformed into scaled scores through a statistical method called equating. Unfortunately, the NCBE does not release data on the calculations it uses to determine scaled scores.
Alabama MPRE Minimum Passing Score
The MPRE features 60 multiple-choice questions administered over two hours. Before practicing law in Alabama, you must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE®) with a minimum score of 75. Check out our article, About the MPRE, to learn more about this mandatory exam.
Alabama Bar Exam Results and Pass Rates
As is typical with bar exams across the country, the Alabama Bar Exam's repeater pass rate is markedly lower than the first-timer pass rate. This phenomenon is likely because many examinees who failed the first time haven't changed their study habits significantly.
|Year||No Of Candidates||Pass Rate||No. Of Candidates||Pass Rate||No. Of Candidates||Pass Rate|
Alabama Bar Exam Results
Alabama Bar Exam results are released about eight to nine weeks following the administration of the exam. Examinees will receive their scaled MBE score, the total scaled score of their MEE and MPT, raw scores for individual MPT and MEE questions, and their total UBE scaled score.
Examinees who fail their AL Bar exam will receive their essay answers for review, along with the top three essay answers for each question
Alabama Bar Exam Reciprocity
Alabama has a reciprocal relationship with these jurisdictions. This means that examinees can transfer their UBE scores and scores from components of the UBE, like the MBE. The following rules apply:
- Must be a permanent resident of Alabama
- 75% of time devoted to the practice of law must be in Alabama
- Character and fitness standards as stipulated by the NCBE must be met
- Must be in good standing in previous jurisdictions
- Must be actively practicing law in one or more jurisdictions for 5-7 years leading up to application
- Have an MPRE score of 75 or greater
- Must pay an application fee of $875
- MBE scores of 140+ earned in another jurisdiction are valid within 25 months of the next exam administration
To apply for reciprocity, you must submit the following:
- Application for reciprocity via the Alabama State Bar online portal
- Reciprocity Application Paper Items Packet
- Certification of Graduation
- Certificate of Good Standing (from jurisdictions where you have practiced law)
- Driving Abstract from wherever you hold a drivers license
- MPRE score report
- Certification of Jurisdictional Reciprocity
What Makes the Alabama Bar Exam Unique?
Alabama requires that bar candidates successfully complete an online course on Alabama law. Course access is provided about one to two weeks after sitting for your bar exam.
Alabama Bar Exam for Foreigners
Foreign law school graduates may sit for the bar exam if they graduated from a law school outside of the US that was approved within the associated foreign jurisdiction and has been admitted to practice law in said jurisdiction.
Their law degree must include substantial coverage of English common law or include 24 semester hours of legal studies related to subjects covered in "regular" law classes and to the standards set by the ABA.
Alternatively, if the foreign candidate has been admitted to practice law in the US for three continuous years and is in good standing, they may sit for the Alabama Bar Exam.
Whether you are taking the UBE for the first time or you are a repeater, the best way to be among those who pass the Alabama Bar Exam is to study with questions and practice exams that imitate the actual bar exam.
If practice feels like the real thing, the real thing will feel like practice. The Themis + UWorld full bar review bundle offers 4000+ MBE practice questions. Each question has been curated by our premier team of legal experts or is licensed by the NCBE.
You'll gain access to 100+ MEE practice essays and 22 MPT practice questions from past bar exams. In addition, our platform offers customizable flashcards, performance tracking, a QBank filled with detailed illustrations, readings paired with bite-sized video lectures, and thorough explanations for each question.
Contact Details of the Alabama State Bar
If you wish to contact the Alabama State Bar Admissions office with inquiries regarding the Alabama Bar Exam, please see the details below.
|Phone Number||(334) 269-1515|
|Fax Number||(334) 261-6310|
Alabama State Bar
Attn: Admissions Office
PO Box 671
Montgomery, AL 36101
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can anyone take the bar exam in Alabama?
How long is the bar exam in Alabama?
What are Alabama Bar Exam application deadlines and fees?
How hard is the Alabama Bar Exam?
How long does it take to study for the Alabama Bar Exam?
What is the minimum passing UBE score for Alabama?
How much does it cost to retake the Alabama Bar Exam?
Does Alabama offer reciprocity with any jurisdiction?
Alabama offers reciprocity with the following jurisdictions.
Can I transfer my MBE score from another jurisdiction to Alabama?
Can I transfer my Alabama UBE score to another jurisdiction?
What is the time limit for accepting a transferred UBE score in Alabama (i.e., maximum age of the UBE score)?
Can you practice law without a law degree in Alabama?
What is the admission without examination process like in Alabama?
To be admitted to the Alabama Bar without taking the AL Bar Exam, you must be a practicing lawyer in another state and have an ABA-approved JD degree. Here are details of the process.
What is the admission process for foreign candidates for the Alabama Bar Exam?
How do I become a licensed attorney in Alabama?
How to request special accommodations for the Alabama Bar Exam?
To request special accommodations for the Alabama Bar Exam, you must fill out an Applicant Request for Test Accommodations and submit all required documentation before November 1, 2022, or April 1, 2023, for the February or July exams, respectively.