Bar Preparation for LLM Students

Seattle University School of Law is committed to providing international LLM students with individualized counseling and support in their preparation for taking the Uniform Bar Exam. If you have determined that pursuing admission to a U.S. Bar is the right choice for you, our Bar Studies program is designed to give the foundation you need to approach the Bar exam with confidence while also maximizing, to the greatest extent possible, the number of classes that meet your own intellectual and career goals.

When the LLM program starts, the Director of the Bar Studies Program will work with students individually to determine bar eligibility and design a customized course of study for the bar exam. Seattle University School of Law offers several bar-tested subjects as well as specific classes designed to enhance students’ ability to successfully prepare for the Uniform Bar Exam.

Washington Bar Exam (Uniform Bar Exam)

Washington began using the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in July 2013. In addition to taking the UBE, Washington applicants must take and pass the Multistage Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), and the Washington Law Component (WLC).

Washington Bar Exam

In Washington, foreign attorneys may take the Washington Bar if they have graduated from a university or law school outside of the U.S. with a degree in law that qualifies the applicant to practice law in that jurisdiction and earned an LLM degree that meets the requirements of APR 3 from an ABA-approved law school.

Character & Fitness:

The practice of law is a privilege, not a right. In addition to the examinations discussed above, all Washington applicants, including foreign applicants, are subject to a character and fitness review prior to being allowed to sit for the Washington State Bar Examination. Washington applicants have the burden to prove that he or she is a person of honest demeanor and good moral character, and possesses the requisite fitness to perform the obligations and responsibilities of a practicing attorney at law.

Character and fitness disclosures may vary by state, and, in Washington, you should be prepared to list specifics of every place you have lived in the last 5 years, every job you have held (with contacts to confirm employment) in the last 5 years, every moving traffic violation in the past 10 years, any disciplinary action in school, any arrest or criminal charge along with full details of the incident. Applicant should start assembling the documents in advance because this process can be time consuming.

Permission to sit for the bar examination may be withheld pending a hearing before the Character and Fitness Board and final determination regarding whether applicants have met their burden of proving that they are of good moral character, are fit to practice law and have met the Essential Eligibility Requirements. Washington requires resolution of all character and fitness issues at least 60 days prior to sitting for the bar exam. Applicants with unresolved character and fitness issues will not be permitted to sit for the exam.

General Washington Information

While each state's bar screening process varies, the current Washington Admission to Practice Rules are linked here as an example of what you may be required to disclose and what you may be required to prove. While these rules are applicable only to Washington state, the vast majority of states have similar disclosure requirements, some even more expansive. Please check with the jurisdiction in which you plan to practice regarding their disclosure requirements. Although the disclosures requested by bar associations may include financial difficulties (such as bankruptcy), drug or alcohol abuse issues, as well as arrests (even if they did not result in a conviction), criminal convictions of any type and school disciplinary matters, ultimately your eligibility to take a bar examination and become a member of any given state bar will depend on your particular circumstances.

A significant issue for applicants for admission to the bar is candor in their bar application forms, including providing a full explanation of all circumstances that may be required to be disclosed on the bar application. Insufficient disclosure and/or failure to disclose itself can be a basis for rejecting a candidate for admission. In other words, in some instances the underlying conduct might not itself be sufficient to prompt a character and fitness inquiry, but rather the failure to disclose even a relatively minor problem can become the basis for a character and fitness investigation. Please visit the Washington State Bar Association for more information.

Character and Fitness Information for Foreign Applicants in Washington

The Washington State Bar defines “Foreign Applicants” as applicants who have a first degree in law that was not earned in the United States and/or have ever been admitted to the practice of law in any foreign country.

Foreign Applicant applications will be investigated and verified by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). For foreign attorneys and applicants with a foreign law degree, it may take up to nine months to receive a report from the NCBE. Attorney applicants may sit for the exam only after the WSBA receives a report from the NCBE at least 18 days prior to the first day of the exam.

Therefore, attorney applicants are advised that they may not be eligible to sit for the exam they originally applied for. Furthermore, foreign attorneys and applicants with a foreign law degree must apply during the application period for the exam scheduled prior to their preferred exam time. For additional information, please visit APR 3 Applicants for admission to practice law.

Other State’s Bar Exams

LLM students that wish to take a different bar examination after graduation should familiarize themselves with the eligibility and general requirements of the Bar exam they wish to take.

Specific Bar Exam Courses Offered at Seattle University School of Law

Bar Exam Strategies and Skills Class

The Bar Exam Strategies and Skills class is a 2-credit course offered every semester. The class is designed to jumpstart students’ preparation for taking the bar exam.

The class focuses on building the analytical, writing, and organizational skills necessary to enhance students’ ability to prepare for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). Students will become thoroughly familiar with the format and components of the bar exam, will review substantive areas of law covered on the UBE, and will enhance their critical thinking and analytical writing skills. This course provides students with intensive hands-on studying and writing practice, peer evaluation, and individual written feedback. Multistate Bar Exam practice test questions as well as Multistate Essay Examination questions are administered with strategy sessions to aid in the successful completion of both portions of the bar exam. Multistate Performance Test (MPT) strategies and writing techniques are reviewed along with the completion of one MPT. Memorization and outlining skills, time management strategies, and stress management techniques will also be taught.

Unlike typical law school classes, this class provides frequent feedback and grading throughout the semester. This class requires, among other types of graded exercises, homework, in-class assignments, a midterm, and a final exam.

The Bar Strategies and Skills class, while designed to assist students with their Bar examination preparation, should not be considered a substitute for a comprehensive commercial bar review course. The main objective of this class is to provide students with early exposure to the materials and strategies that will be emphasized in their commercial bar review course.

Supplemental Bar Course

The Supplemental Bar Program is a program offered at no cost to SU graduates and interested LL.M. students that will run concurrently with the winter or summer bar review programs.

The Bar Studies Program designed the Supplemental Bar program to complement students’ commercial bar review courses and to take advantage of the substantive coverage of these courses. The Supplemental Bar program is not designed to replicate any of the work that graduates complete during their commercial bar review course.

During the Supplemental Bar program, students will receive individual coaching and feedback throughout the two-month study period. The main goal of the Supplemental Bar program is to provide assistance in a more individualized manner that traditional commercial bar review courses generally cannot provide. Other goals and objectives of the program are the following:

    • Help students stay on track with their commercial Bar review courses;
    • Provide a structured study space to help students identify strengths and weaknesses;
    • Provide a support system to help students stay motivated and positive; and
    • Provide a positive place for students to gain skills and confidence.

The Supplemental Bar Program has several components. They include:

    • Structured MBE, MPT, and MEE practice
    • Individualized instructions and feedback
    • Substantive review of heavily tested topics
    • Simulated Bar Exams

Again, the Supplemental Bar program is provided at no charge to Seattle U law graduates and interested LLM students. The program demonstrates the School of Law's long-term commitment to students and to their success in the profession.