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.