State Bar of Montana Admission FAQs
1. What are the requirements to apply for admission to the State Bar of Montana? ALL applicants must have a JD degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Even if you are admitted to practice in another jurisdiction, you are not eligible to apply unless you have a JD from an ABA-accredited school. A list of ABA-accredited law schools can be found on the following website: http://www.abanet.org/legaled/approvedlawschools/alpha.html. There are no separate provisions for foreign-educated applicants.
2. Is there reciprocity or admission on motion? There is no reciprocity or admission on motion and all applicants must sit for the bar exam or, beginning July 2013, may import a qualified Uniform Bar Exam score.
3. Are previous scores eligible for transfer?
*Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam: A scaled MPRE score of 80 or better earned within three years is required for admission to the Montana Bar.
*Multistate Bar Exam: For the February 2013 exam, a scaled MBE score of 130 or higher earned within three years may be transferred. BEGINNING JULY 2013, applicants MAY NO LONGER TRANSFER MBE SCORES, but will be required to sit for the Uniform Bar Exam comprised of the MEE, MPT and the MBE.
*Uniform Bar Exam: BEGINNING JULY 2013, applicants may transfer a scaled UBE score of 270 or higher from a qualified UBE exam to Montana. To earn a qualifying UBE score, the MBE, MPT and MEE must be taken in a UBE jurisdiction and uniformly administered, graded, and scored as a UBE exam.
*Applicants are responsible for having scores certified to the Bar Admissions Administrator. See the NCBE website for more information about the MPRE and UBE.
4. When is the deadline to apply? The deadline for the February exam is October 1st and the deadline for the July exam is March 15th.
5. Why is the application date so early? The deadline is early in order to allow time for the character and fitness investigation to be completed. All applicants must receive certification from the Character & Fitness Commission prior to sitting for the exam.
6. How much is the application fee? The application fee paid to Montana is $150 for student applicants (applicants who have never been licensed) or $400 for attorney applicants (those who are already licensed in another state). There is a separate fee paid to the NCBE for the character and fitness application.
7. Is it possible to file a late application? There are no late filing provisions under the Rules. A late applicant must petition the Montana Supreme Court for permission to submit a late application, and there is a $100 penalty if the Court grants permission.
8. How can I obtain an application? All applications will be processed through the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). More information is available on the Montana Bar’s Admission page and on the NCBE’s Character & Fitness link.
9. Is there a separate fee for the bar exam? Yes, in addition to the application fee, there is a fee for the Uniform Bar Exam of $300 and $150 for the Montana Law Seminar (MLS). Exam fees are nonrefundable, so most applicants wait until they have been certified by the Character and Fitness Commission before submitting the fee.
10. Can I use my laptop to take the Montana Bar exam? Yes, examinees have the option to use their laptops for the MTEE, MEE and MPT portions of the bar exam. Montana uses ExamSoft’s SofTest™ and there is a nonrefundable fee of $125 payable to ExamSoft.
11. What are the dates of the exam? The Montana Essay Exam is administered on Monday, the MEE and MPT are administered on Tuesday and the MBE is always administered on the last Wednesday of February and July. (NOTE: February 2013 will be the last administration of the Montana Essay Exam. Beginning July 2013, a one-day Montana Law Seminar will be offered the Thursday following each exam session and is a requirement prior to admission to the Bar.)
12. What documents are required to supplement the application? The list of supporting documents is outlined in the Application Checklist that is included with your online application instructions on the NCBE website.
13. May I submit supporting documents in advance of my application? You are welcome to send any/all of your supporting documents directly to the State Bar
14. What if I can’t provide all the supporting documents by the application deadline? The application and application fee must be submitted by the specified deadlines to be certified to sit for the bar exam (either March 15 or October 1, see above). Most, if not all, supporting documents should be sent by the deadline as well. However, it is permissible if there are minimal documents outstanding, as long as all the documents are submitted within approximately two weeks of the deadline and you notify the Bar Admissions Administrator the documents will be late. It is strongly suggested that applicants begin the process early in order to allow ample time to obtain the required documents. You will not be certified to sit for the examination unless all supporting documents have been submitted.
15. What if my results from another jurisdiction will not be released until after the application deadline? You should apply by the application deadlines stated above, then you can amend your application at any time.
16. What if I sign up for the exam, but then find I need to postpone? The rules allow an applicant to defer up to three times. You must submit your request in writing by completing the deferral form and paying a $20 processing fee.
17. What are my obligations once I submit an application? You are required to update your application to keep it current and accurate, and must notify the Bar Admissions Administrator in the event there are any changes to your application. This includes, but is not limited to, any change in residence, business address, telephone number, e-mail address, employment, or attorney membership status in any other jurisdiction. It also includes an obligation to inform the Commission of any academic misconduct, disciplinary action, involvement in any civil or criminal proceeding, or the recurrence or development of any illness or condition which would have a bearing on your fitness to practice law. If the Bar Admissions Administrator should request more information or documentation, you are obligated to respond in a timely and truthful fashion.
18. What if I need to know more? This list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) is general in nature. It is not a substitute for reading and becoming familiar with the Rules for Admission to the Bar of Montana, the Rules of Procedure of the Commission on Character and Fitness or the Board of Bar Examiners Rules. You can find those documents on our website, www.montanabar.org, under “Admission to the Bar.” Or you may contact Marie Connolly, Bar Admissions Administrator, at 406/447-2204 or at email@example.com .