The on-time deadline to file your Ohio Application to Register as a Candidate for Admission (aka, the C&F Application) is only two weeks away. If you are in your second year of law school and don’t file the application with the Ohio Supreme Court Office of Bar Admissions by November 15, you are subject to substantial late fees.
The C&F Application includes the following components:
- Registration Application
- Certificate of Dean
- Certified Copy of Undergraduate Transcript
- Character Questionnaire (available on NCBE website)
- Release Forms (automatically print with questionnaire)
- Fingerprint Card
- Payment: two certified checks or money orders
The C&F Application takes time to complete so plan accordingly and don’t wait until the last minute.
The November administration of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) is in a few weeks and it’s time to start preparing.
Administered by the NCBE, the MPRE is a 60-question multiple choice test. 50 questions are graded and 10 are pre-test questions. The test is scored from 50-150 and in Ohio you need an 85 to pass. At first glance, you might think all you have to do to pass is spell your name correctly. After all, 100 is the mid-way point and 85 is below that. Yes, the pass score isn’t that high but you still have to know the material. You can find this out the hard way or you can prepare properly and pass the first time.
Passing the MPRE requires you to study and practice. First, learn what material is going to be tested. The NCBE has a MPRE subject matter outline with the scope of coverage and percentage of items included in each major area. This is helpful in order to see which topics are more heavily tested. For example, you can expect 6-9 questions on Conflicts of Interest but only 1-2 questions on a Lawyer’s Duties to the Public and Legal System.
Next, familiarize yourself with the material. Most commercial bar prep companies have free MPRE prep courses. Sign up for one (or more) and use the study material. The MPRE isn’t like a law school exam where you need to spend hours and hours going over your outline. Instead, learn the material in context by working through practice questions with your outline. Check each question as you answer it instead of answering sets of questions and then looking at the explanations. We learn from our mistakes so it’s best to catch them as we make them, not 20-30 minutes later.
After you’ve done a few sets of questions with your outline, you can switch to “practice for performance” mode and answer questions without your notes. Give yourself a few hours for this because you will miss a lot of questions at first. You have to remind your brain you know the information and this will take some time. What you should notice is that the more you practice (and check your work) the less mistakes you make.
Finally, your goal should be to do your best, not just to pass. It is better to over-study than to set the bar too low and fail. The bottom line is, it’s your $95 so it’s your choice if you want to spend it on another MPRE or on something else.
Thinking about taking the Ohio bar exam? Then you better get started early because the first application deadline is November of your second year of law school. For most jurisdictions, the bar exam application includes a character and fitness component but Ohio is a little different in that it has two separate applications. In order to sit for the bar exam, an applicant must first submit the Application to Register as a Candidate for Admission (aka: C&F Application) by November 15 of the second year of law school and then (for the July exam) submit a separate Bar Exam Application by April 1 of the last year of law school.
Although many jurisdictions have application deadlines in March or April before the bar exam, Ohio’s is earlier because no one is permitted to sit for the bar exam without first receiving C&F approval. While this might seem annoying, it pays off in the end because you’ve done all the work ahead of time and once bar exam results post in late October, there’s nothing else to do in order to be sworn in as an attorney.
This November deadline is not dependent on whether you attend an Ohio law school, are a part-time or full-time student, when you will graduate law school or when you will take the bar exam. Anyone who doesn’t submit the C&F Application by this date, is subject to (pretty substantial) late fees.
Another component of Ohio’s C&F process is the in-person interview. After the NCBE has verified the information in the C&F Application, the file is sent to a local bar association admissions committee. Every applicant is interviewed by two members of the committee who then recommend whether the applicant should receive C&F approval. This interview is in-person, not over the phone, Skype, or video-conference. This means that out-of-state applicants must come to Ohio to be interviewed.
Visit the Supreme Court of Ohio Office of Bar Admissions website for more information on Ohio’s application process.