Everything You Need to Know About the Alaska Bar Exam

So you have completed your law school education and now you are ready to take your final steps towards becoming an Alaska lawyer. It is now time to face the daunting task of taking the Alaska Bar Exam. With an overall passing rate of 68% you have a fair chance of passing this professional obstacle if you prepare for it. There are many things that you will need to know before you sit for the Alaska Bar Exam including: application procedures, testing format, and what will be covered on the exam. This article will provide you with this information and hopefully arm you with the knowledge needed to prepare for the great challenge of sitting for the Alaska Bar Exam.

Application Procedure

Alaska Bar Association
P.O. Box 100279
Anchorage, Alaska 99510-0279
(907) 272-7469
www.alaskabar.org

To sit for the Alaska Bar you need to (1) have graduated with a Juris Doctorate from an American Bar Association approved law school, (2) you must take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam and pass with a score of at least 80, and (3) you must take a mandatory ethics course. Information about this mandatory ethics course can be found at www.alaskabar.org/INDEX.CFM?ID=4991&makeback=true . It is basically just a one hour lecture that can be viewed either by attending one of four annual video seminars in Anchorage, or by requesting a video of the seminar and returning a signed affidavit that states that you viewed the tape.

Alaska currently does have a reciprocity program. You can therefore be admitted to the Alaskan Bar if you (1) have passed the MPRE, (2) are licensed to practice law in another U.S. state or D.C., and (3) have actively practiced law in that state for five of the preceding seven years.

For more information about taking the MPRE you can write to the address below for a testing application packet.

National Conference of Bar Examiners
C/O MPRE
P.O. Box 4001
Iowa City, Iowa 52243

Your application will need to include: (1) application fee, (2) two 2″X3″ head and shoulders photographs of you, (3) two complete and accurate fingerprint cards, (4) an Authorization and Release Form, (5) certificate of graduation from your law school confirming you have met the educational requirements, and (6) a complete and accurately filled out application form.

To download or request a complete application packet with testing information, requirements, and general information you will need to visit the Alaska State Bar website at the address listed above. After you receive your packet you will need to fill out all of the forms and submit them by the stated deadlines, and you will need to enclose the appropriate application, examination, and late fees. These fees change annually, however, to give you an idea of the costs to expect the 2006 fees were $800 for the general applicants, $500 for re-applicants, and late fees if applicable between $25 and $100 depending on the date of your application.

Testing Format

The Alaska Bar Exam lasts two and a half days, and it is given twice a year. Once in late February, and once in late January.

On the first day of the Alaska Bar Exam you will be given three long essay questions and six short essay questions to answer.

On the second day you will take the Multistate Bar Exam, which consists of 200 multiple choice questions.

On the final day you will be given two 90-minute Multistate Performance Test problems. These will test your ability to do “lawyer work.”

The scoring of the Alaska Bar Exam will be handled by averaging your scores from each segment, the long essays, the short essays, the MBE, and the MPT. The MBE makes up 50% of your total score, the three long essays make up 15% of your score, the six short essays make up 22.5% of your total score, and the MPT makes up 12.5% of your total score. In order to pass the Alaska Bar Exam you need to earn a combined score of 140 points.

Results of the Alaska Bar Exam will be mailed out 90 days after completion of the exam. For more information you can email the Alaska Bar Association at info@alaskabar.org.

Study Tips

Studying for the Alaska Bar will be quite an undertaking. You will need to devote several months to studying procedures, laws, and information that you learned during your three years of law school. To help direct your studying it is highly recommended that you enroll in a Bar Exam Review course. Law schools and self-study institutes provide these courses. For a list of quality Bar Exam Review course please check out the Alaska Bar Association’s website at: www.alaskabar.org.

In addition to enrolling in a Bar Exam Review course, you should also learn what will be on the examination and where you can go for study guides.

Topics That Will Be Covered on the Alaska Bar Exam

The following topics will be covered in the Alaska Bar Exam. You will need to know federal and Alaska specific rules, regulations, general applications, and procedures that apply to these topics.

1. Business Organization
2. Constitutional Law
3. Criminal Law and Procedures
4. Family Law
5. Torts including product liability
6. Civil Procedures
7. Contracts
8. Evidence
9. Real Property
10. Remedies

Essay Helpful Hints

When you are composing your three long essays try to keep the following hints in mind. First the purpose of the long essay is to demonstrate your ability to analyze legal issues and apply appropriate theories, laws, and procedures. You will need to identify important legal theories, principles, statutes, laws, and procedures as they are applied in Alaska, and also explain the qualifications and limitations of each items that is used. You should chronicle your thought and reasoning processes and show how you come to your conclusions.

While the long essays require in-depth analyses of the topics addressed, the short essays do not need so much detail. Instead the Bar Examiners will be analyzing your ability to demonstrate the breadth of your substantive knowledge of Alaskan laws and how federal laws are interpreted and applied in Alaska. Keep these answers brief and to the point.

Study Resources

To help you study, the following websites provide official rules of legal procedures for the state of Alaska and for federal procedures.

For past Alaska Bar Exam questions, application forms and general information go to:
www.alaskabar.org

For Alaska Rules of Civil Procedures go to:
www.state.ak.us/courts/dciv.htm

For Federal Rules of Civil Procedures go to:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp

For Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct go to:
www.state.ak.us/courts/prof.htm
For Alaska Rules of Evidence go to:
www.state.ak.us/courts/evihtm

For Federal Rules of Evidence go to:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre

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