Bar Preparation & Mentoring

Many international LL.M. students wish to take a Bar exam in the United States. Foreign law students or attorneys may be able to apply to become licensed attorneys in several states in the U.S.A. The two most common Bars that are of interest to international students are the California Bar and the New York Bar. McGeorge will work individually and mentor those of you who are interested in pursuing that route.

As a McGeorge student you will have access to our Academic Support Programs, which offer special courses and resources (year-long) for those of you wish to take a Bar exam. The Academic Support Programs may include bar exam workshops, individualized tutoring, practice exams, and other resources to help students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed on the Bar exam. Keep in mind that while these programs can be helpful in preparing for the bar exam, they are not a guarantee of success.

McGeorge offers two courses to students to help them begin preparing for the upcoming bar exam: PASS I and PASS II.

PASS I is a three (3)-unit course that allows students to review and prepare effectively for each component of the CA and NY Bar Exam: essays, MBE (multiple choice), and the performance test. Students in PASS I practice using real bar exam essay and performance test questions, receiving extensive individual written and oral feedback concerning critical reading skills, issue identification, answer organization and structure, time management, and crafting effective rule statements, factual analyses or arguments, and conclusions.

PASS II is a three (3)-unit course offered in the spring semester that focuses on the substantive law of three subjects that graduates preparing for the CA and NY Bar Exam typically find challenging: Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Real Property. PASS II is an online class. Students review substantive law and lectures and complete essay and multiple-choice exam simulations remotely. The course is fast-paced, covering each subject in four weeks.

McGeorge graduates taking the bar for the first time also may participate in the Bar Exam Advantage Training (BEAT) program, a free supplemental bar review program offered after graduation in the summer that creates opportunities for more simulated practice, written feedback, and individual counseling. BEAT allows participants to write practice exams more often and sooner than they otherwise might, but it is meant to work with the commercial bar review program schedules, not to add work to an already-loaded study plan. Due to its supplemental design, BEAT does not replace enrollment in a commercial bar review course. BEAT is open to first-time bar applicants, and admission is by application only. Check your Pacific email during your final semester of law study for application information; applications typically become available in early March for the July bar exam and in early November for the February bar exam.

McGeorge graduates taking a bar exam outside California or otherwise and not participating in BEAT may participate in the free Extra Feedback Program (EFP) instead. Alumni taking advantage of the EFP submit designated essay and performance test practice exams for detailed, individualized written feedback. Exams used in the EFP are the same as those used in BEAT, but the EFP is entirely voluntary, allowing for greater flexibility. This program is open to all McGeorge alumni, regardless of whether they are taking the bar for the first time, and there is no application or RSVP necessary. Please watch the "McGeorge Bar Prep" Facebook page for the schedule, which should be posted shortly after graduation.

Professor Harrington is available to counsel students and alumni who are studying to pass a Bar Examination, whether they are taking it for the first time or trying again. Students and graduates may meet with her to discuss their choices of commercial bar review programs, their extracurricular or work schedules during bar preparation, how to communicate with their families and loved ones concerning the support they will need, and anything else related to their bar success.

Requirements for Qualified Lawyers in Foreign Jurisdictions:

If you are a qualified lawyer in your home jurisdiction, you may be eligible to take the California Bar Exam. You will need to pass the Bar exam and meet other requirements, such as completing a moral character application and completing the necessary educational and/or work experience requirements. These requirements can vary depending on your individual circumstances, so it's important to carefully review the eligibility criteria and application process for the California Bar Exam.

Requirements for Foreign Non-Lawyers:

Law students who received their first degree in law from a law school outside the U.S. must establish their eligibility to take the California Bar Examination by showing that their degrees are equivalent to a Juris Doctor (JD) degree awarded by an American Bar Association (ABA)-approved or California-accredited law school in the U.S.

They must also show that they have successfully completed an LL.M. degree from a law school in the United States that is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) or the State Bar of California's Committee of Bar Examiners.

It's important to note, however, that completing an LL.M. degree alone is not sufficient to qualify for the bar exam. There may be other requirements that must be met, such as completing additional coursework or work experience, and passing a character and fitness evaluation.

You will also need to submit a foreign law degree evaluation. For the California Bar, such evaluation is done by a third-party vendor. You can find the list of authorized vendors at the bottom of the page. This process may also be lengthy, and we highly recommend you submit your evaluation before you start your studies at McGeorge.

To learn more about the CA Bar Examination and the eligibility requirements, please visit the official website of the State Bar of California.

Foreign-trained attorneys with a three-year on-site undergraduate law degree from most common law countries may be eligible to take the bar examination in New York without completing additional coursework at a U.S. law school.

However, foreign-trained attorneys from civil law jurisdictions or those from common law countries with degrees that do not meet the educational requirements may be required to complete an LL.M. program at a U.S. ABA accredited law school to be eligible to take the New York Bar Exam.

The New York State Board of Examiners requires all foreign educated law students to submit an Online Foreign Evaluation. It may take six to 12 months for the evaluation to be completed. Therefore, we highly recommend you submit your evaluation before you start your studies at McGeorge, and as early as possible.

To learn more about the New York Bar Examination and the eligibility requirements, please visit the official website of the New York Board of Law Examiners of the State of New York (BOLE) and the "Foreign Legal Education" section of the NY BOLE website.

Many other states in the U.S. allow foreign-trained attorneys with (or without) a U.S. LL.M. degree to sit for the bar exam provided that they meet certain requirements. These requirements may include completing an LL.M. degree at a U.S. law school, passing a test of English proficiency, and completing other educational or experience requirements. The specific requirements can vary by state, and it's important to carefully review the requirements for each state where you may be interested in practicing law. For a complete list and to learn more about the requirements for these states, consult the full National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements.


Questions? Please contact:

Graduate and International Law Programs
Phone Number: 916.739.7019