The Puerto Rico Bar Exam
The Puerto Rico Bar Examination may just be the most unique bar exam of them all. Puerto Rico is one of the few remaining jurisdictions that have not adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE®). Its local components reflect the jurisdiction's mixed legal framework. Furthermore, there are 2 Puerto Rico Bar Exams: The General Puerto Rico Bar Exam and the Federal Puerto Rico Bar Exam.
For the purposes of this article, we will refer to the General Puerto Rico Bar Exam, which is required to practice in the Commonwealth’s local courts, as the Puerto Rico Bar Exam. To practice in the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, you must pass the Federal Puerto Rico Bar Examination.
Puerto Rico Bar Exam Structure
The Puerto Rico Bar Exam is administered over 2 days. While exams are administered in Spanish, you may answer questions in Spanish or English.
Puerto Rico Bar Exam Dates, Requirements, and Scheduling
You can’t sit for an exam that you can’t take. Make sure you meet all the requirements and stay updated on exam dates and deadlines.
The Puerto Rico Bar Exam is administered twice a year, each no less than 6 months apart from the other, typically in March and September. The 2024 dates for the Puerto Rico Bar Exam are TBD. For reference, the fall 2023 exam was held on September 13 and 14, 2023. The application deadline was June 30. You must submit your application at least 45 days before the appropriate exam date.
To sit for the Puerto Rico Bar Exam, you must have graduated from a law school approved by both the American Bar Association (ABA) and the State Supreme Court of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico Bar Exam Cost and Fees
|Puerto Rico Bar Exam||$250|
|Notarial Revalidation Exam||$200|
Pay online via Visa or Mastercard. Fees are non-refundable.
Puerto Rico Bar Exam Subjects and Topics
The Bar Exam consists of essay (discussion) questions and multiple choice questions. Questions are based on factual situations that raise legal issues. The Board determines the proportion, number, and weight of the sections for each exam. While that information is not public, every exam will contain some combination of the following subjects:
- Administrative law
- Constitutional right
- Family right
- Right of succession
- Real Estate Registry Law
- Criminal law
- Probation Law (Evidence)
- Real rights
- Ethics and Professional Responsibility
- Obligations and Contracts (Special Contracts)
- Civil Procedure
- Criminal Procedure
- Damages and Losses (Extracontractual Liability)
Explore Puerto Rico Bar Exam example questions from past administrations.
Puerto Rico Federal Bar Exam
Puerto Rico does not administer the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®). To practice as a lawyer in the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, you must pass the Puerto Rico Federal Exam. The exam is given twice a year, in the Spring and the Fall.
You can apply for the Puerto Rico Federal Exam on the United States District Court website.
Puerto Rico Federal Bar Exam Subjects
The Puerto Rico Federal Bar Exam assesses whether an attorney can provide effective assistance of counsel to their clients under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Here's a list of the subjects tested:
- Federal Civil Procedure
- Federal Evidence
- Federal Jurisdiction and Venue
- Federal Criminal Procedure
- Local Rules
- Federal Appellate Procedure
- Mandatory Essay (English Language)
Requirements to take the Puerto Rico Federal Bar Exam
- Must be in good standing as an attorney admitted to practice before the highest court of US jurisdiction.
- Must submit an original certificate of good standing (not more than 6 months old) issued by the Puerto Rico Supreme Court or the highest court of any state, territory, or district.
- Must pay a non-refundable fee of $100.00, payable to the Clerk, US District Court.
Puerto Rico MPRE Requirements
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE®) is a 2-hour, 60-multiple-choice question exam that assesses an examinee's knowledge of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
Puerto Rico MPRE Minimum Passing Score
Puerto Rico does not require a passing MPRE score to sit for the bar exam or be admitted.
Puerto Rico Bar Exam Scoring, Results, and Pass Rates
The combined passing score for the Puerto Rico Bar Exam is 569 points out of 1,000, according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®). However, this may not always be the case. The Board states that passing scores "are established by the Court from time to time, based on the recommendation and advice of the Board."
Puerto Rico Bar Exam scoring/grading
A grading committee grades questions based on how well you identified the legal issues, demonstrated your understanding of the law and expressed your ideas. Two graders score each question. If the graders come up with scores that are more than one point apart, they must come together and agree on a final score for that answer.
Once all the grading is done, the raw scores get adjusted to ensure that the exam's difficulty level is consistent with previous exams. The Court then sets the minimum passing score based on recommendations from the Board.
Puerto Rico Bar Exam Reciprocity
Puerto Rico does not have reciprocity or admission on motion. You must take the Puerto Rico Bar Exam to be admitted to the Puerto Rico Bar.
What Makes the Puerto Rico Bar Exam Unique?
The Puerto Rico Bar Exam may be the most unique bar exam. It’s written in Spanish, although examinees can answer in English or Spanish. Furthermore, subjects on the exam reflect Puerto Rico's mixed legal system, which combines elements of civil and common law.
Puerto Rico Bar Exam for foreigners
Foreign applicants may sit for the Puerto Rico Bar Exam if the meet the following requirements:
- Obtain a law degree from a Law School approved by the American Bar Association and the Court.
- Validate their studies.
- Comply with other general requirements like being over 21, being of good moral character, and passing the bar examination.
The difference between those who fail the Puerto Rico Bar Examination and those who pass is the right study plan. A quality bar review course will help improve your score, whether it's your first, second, or even third time taking the PR Bar Exam.
Themis + UWorld gets you exam-ready with questions curated by an in-house team of subject matter experts and you can hone your essay skills with over 100+ practice essays and a dedicated essay grader.
Contact details of the Puerto Rico state bar
|Phone Number||(787) 641-6263|