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Everything You Need To Know About the Colorado Bar Exam

The Colorado Bar Exam is a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) candidates who wish to practice law in Colorado must pass. To be considered as having passed the Colorado Bar Exam, you must score 276 scale points (of a possible 400). The Colorado Uniform Bar Examination has three components: The Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).

This article will provide you with pertinent information about the Colorado Bar Exam so you know what to expect on test day and how to prepare to maximize your chances of passing.

Eligibility & Registration

The requirements to be admitted to practice law in Colorado vary depending on your circumstances—are you a recent law school graduate or experienced attorney? Did you take the bar exam in another UBE state or do you want to practice in Colorado part-time or on a temporary basis? Your answer will determine the requirements you must meet to be admitted to the Colorado Bar.

Depending on your circumstances, the following options are available to become a fully-licensed attorney in Colorado:

  • Taking the Colorado Bar Examination
  • UBE Score Transfer
  • Admission On-Motion

Regardless of the path you take, you must submit an application questionnaire and successfully go through a thorough Character and Fitness Investigation by the Office of Attorney Admissions. You must also have recently passed the MPRE with a scaled score of 85 and attended the Practicing With Professionalism Course.

Source:  Office of Attorney Admissions

Foreign attorneys and law school graduates who are ineligible for application on motion as qualified out-of-state attorneys may be eligible to sit for the Colorado Bar Exam provided they meet all of the requirements set forth by the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Admissions. You must submit a Petition for determination of Eligibility to sit for the Colorado Bar Exam pursuant and include a check for $100, which will be credited to your application fee if you are determined eligible to sit for the exam but not refunded if you are determined not to be eligible.

To apply for the Colorado Bar Exam, you must file an application using the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Admissions’ most up-to-date CiviCoreTM Application Management System (AMS) and forms by the applicable filing deadline.

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Exam Dates & Schedule

Like most UBE jurisdictions, the Colorado Bar Exam is administered over two days:

Day 1:
  • Six 30-minute Multistate Essay Exam questions (MEE) in the morning and
  • Two 90-minute Multistate Performance Test questions (MPT) in the afternoon
Day 2:
  • 200-question Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), with 100 questions in the morning and 100 in the afternoon

Structure & Subjects

The Colorado Bar Exam covers the following topics:
  1. Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)

The six 30-minute essay questions on the MEE test applicants on the following subjects:

  • Business Associations (Agency and Partnership; Corporations; and Limited Liability Companies)
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Family Law
  • Trusts and Estates (Decedents' Estates; Trusts and Future Interests)
  • Article 9 (Secured Transactions) of the Uniform Commercial Code
  • Plus all MBE subjects
  1. Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)

The MBE tests the following subjects across 200 questions:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Real Property
  • Torts

You may find a complete list of subjects and subtopics here: MBE Subject Matter Outline

  1. Multistate Performance Test (MPT)

The Colorado Bar Exam includes two 90-minute performance legal case scenarios challenging applicants to think like a lawyer by determining the correct course of action an attorney should take in response to the case. Both questions will provide detailed instructions, factual data, statutes, and other references to assess your legal analysis competencies.

Note: Before you can practice law in Colorado, you must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), which you must take before submitting your bar application. All Colorado bar applicants must earn a scaled score of 85 to be admitted to the Colorado Bar.
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Scoring and Pass Rates

As with other UBE jurisdictions, the MEE and MPT scores are scaled to the MBE, with the following weightings:

  • MBE weighted 50%
  • MEE weighted 30%
  • MPT weighted 20%

The three scores are then combined to determine if the applicant has achieved a passing score of 276.

For the most recent February 2022 bar exam, the pass rate for all test-takers was 51%, 66% for first-time, and 32% for repeat test-takers.

The table below shows the past two administrations' results:

Colorado Bar Exam Results Overall Pass Rate First-Timer Pass Rate Repeater Pass Rate Results Release Date
February 2022 51% 66% 32% April 28, 2022
July 2021 74% 80% 22% October 7, 2021

Colorado Bar Exam Reciprocity

Admission by MBE Score Transfer

Colorado does not accept MBE scores from exams taken in other jurisdictions. That said, an applicant who is a member in good standing in a reciprocating jurisdiction may be admitted on motion in Colorado if:

  • they have been engaged in the active practice of law for three of the five years preceding their application, and
  • meet all admission requirements

Admission by UBE Score Transfer

Applicants who have earned a scaled score of 276 or higher on a UBE in another jurisdiction within the preceding three years may use that score to apply for admission to the Colorado Bar.

What Makes the Colorado Bar Exam Unique?

Colorado is one of a few jurisdictions that permit the temporary practice of law through limited licenses and certifications issued by the Office of Attorney Registration. These include:

To be eligible to practice under a limited license or certification, you must meet certain requirements in addition to submitting an abridged application, but you are not required to take the MPRE for temporarily law practice.

Costs and Fees

The Colorado Bar Exam has an application filing fee of $710.00, which is non-refundable and must be submitted by the deadline. A $200 late fee will be assessed if you submit the fee after the first filing deadline but on or before the last filing deadline, and if you fail to submit the fee by the last filing deadline, your application will be denied. Late applications will only be accepted through December 1 for the February exam and May 1 for the July exam.

Cost-Saving Options

Between the exam application fees and bar prep costs, applying to the bar can get quite expensive. The good news is that scholarships and grants are available to help reduce the financial burden of pursuing a legal license.

Many Colorado area organizations, including universities and foundations, offer law students in the region various scholarships and grants to help with legal education and bar exam costs. For example, University of Boulder Colorado Law offers a number of scholarships, fellowships, and awards annually on a competitive basis, including both academic and financial considerations. Colorado Law has curated a list of all scholarships funded by its community of alumni and friends, which you can access here.

We strongly encourage you to apply to as many of these scholarships for which you are eligible.

Final Takeaways

The Colorado Bar Exam is about as challenging as those administered in other UBE jurisdictions. As always, it is critical to prepare with the right bar prep review that helps you practice with proven MBE Strategies and tactics.

What is the most effective way to pass the MBE?

Practice. Practice. Practice. See what the best practice questions truly look like.

Colorado Bar Exam FAQs

Judging by the pass rates from the past three administrations (February 2022, July 2021, and February 2021), the Colorado Bar Exam may be as challenging as those administered in other UBE jurisdictions.

The most recent February 2022 pass rates were 51% for all test-takers, 66% for first-time, and 32% for repeats.

The Colorado Bar Exam lasts two days, with the MEE and MPT lasting 3 hours and the MBE lasting 6 hours.

Colorado does not have a set limit on the number of times you can take the Colorado Bar Exam, so if you fail the exam on your first attempt, you can go back to the drawing board to come up with a better game plan to perform better the next time.

Visit coloradosupremecourt.com for a complete list of states that have reciprocity with Colorado.

Colorado UBE Bar Exam is scored on a 400-point scale, with a minimum passing score of 276 or greater. The MPT is worth 20%, the MEE 30%, and the MBE 50%.

Results are typically released in late April for the February exam and late September or early October for the July exam. The Colorado Bar Exam February 2022 results were released on April 28, 2022. The Colorado Bar Exam July 2021 results were released on October 7, 2021.

Yes, as long as they meet all the requirements set forth by the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Admissions.

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