Michigan Bar Exam
Michigan Bar Examiners
Michigan Board of Law Examiners
Michigan Hall of Justice, 4th Floor
925 W. Ottawa Street
Lansing, MI 48913
Bar Exam Format
The Michigan bar exam consists of the two parts: 1) 15 essay questions prepared by or under the supervision of the Board of Law Examiners or by law professors selected by the Board; and 2) the MBE, consisting of 200 multiple choice questions, prepared by the NCBE.
The exam is administered on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of every February and July. Each day has a morning session, a lunch break, and an afternoon session.
Fifteen essay questions are administered on the first day of the Michigan bar exam. The morning session contains nine essay questions and lasts three hours. The afternoon session contains six essay questions and lasts two hours.
The MBE is administered on the second day of the bar exam. The morning and afternoon sessions last three hours each.
Michigan permits admission on motion without examination when an attorney licensed to practice law in the United States satisfies educational and character and fitness eligibility requirements set forth in Rules 1 and 2(B), and the following additional requirements are satisfied:
- Attorney is a member in good standing of the Bar where admitted to practice.
- Attorney intends to practice in Michigan, or to be a full-time instructor at a reputable and qualified Michigan law school.
- Attorney has been, for three of the five preceding years, actively practicing law as a principal business or occupation; or been employed as a full-time instructor at a reputable and qualified law school; or been on active duty in the United States armed forces as a judge advocate, legal specialist, or legal officer.
Michigan bar exam subjects that may be tested on the essay portion of the Michigan bar exam include:
- Real and Personal Property;
- Wills and Trusts;
- Constitutional Law;
- Criminal Law and Procedure;
- Corporations, Partnerships, and Agency;
- Creditor’s Rights, including mortgages, garnishments, and attachments;
- Practice and Procedure, trial and appellate, state and federal;
- Torts, including no-fault insurance;
- The sales, negotiable instruments, and secured transactions articles of the Uniform Commercial Code;
- Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct;
- Domestic Relations;
- Conflicts of Laws; and
- Worker’s Compensation.
Bar Exam Dates
The Michigan bar exam is held in February and July. The exam is usually on the last Wednesday and prior Tuesday of each month.
- February 27-28, 2024
- July 30-31, 2024
Michigan bar exam results are usually released in mid-November for the July bar exam and mid-May for the February bar exam. Michigan bar exam results are provided only by first-class mail. If a character and fitness and Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”) clearance has not been received, only unofficial results are provided. Certified official results are provided to the applicants who have satisfied all requirements for licensure in Michigan, including passing the bar exam, passing the MPRE, and receiving character and fitness clearance. Non-certified official results are provided to the applicants who fulfill such requirements other than passing the bar exam. A list of certified passers is posted on the Board of Law Examiners’ website.
The Michigan bar exam passing score is 135. The Michigan bar exam grading process is completed by both the Michigan Board of Law Examiners and the National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”). The Michigan Board of Law Examiners grades the 15 essay questions. The NCBE grades the Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”). The Michigan bar exam score calculation provides that the MBE portion is worth 200 possible points, and each essay is worth 10 points for a total of 150 possible points. The scoring standards for the essay portion of the Michigan bar exam can be found in Rule 3(B) of the Rules, Statutes, and Policy Statements of the Board of Law Examiners.
A combined score of at least 135 must be earned to pass the bar exam. The following formula is used to calculate that score:
- Combined score = [(equated essay score) + MBE score] / 2
The Michigan bar exam pass rate varies significantly with every exam. The overall pass rate usually ranges from 60% to 80% but can also fall outside that range. The pass rate for first-time takers ranges from approximately 65% to 85%. The repeat-taker pass rate is lower and ranges from approximately 20% to 58%.