New Mexico Bar Exam: Application Process and Study Tips

So you have completed your law school education and now you are ready to take your final steps towards becoming a New Mexico lawyer. It is now time to face the daunting task of taking the New Mexico Bar Exam. The New Mexico Bar Exam has a pass rate between 80% to 90%, so you have a good chance of passing if you prepare properly for it. There are many things that you will need to know before you sit for the New Mexico 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 New Mexico Bar Exam.

Application Procedure

Board of Examiners
9420 Indian School Road, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87112
(505) 271-9706
www.nmexam.org

In order to qualify to sit for the New Mexico Bar Exam you will (1) need to have graduated from an ABA approved law school with a Juris Doctorate, (2) three character and fitness statements from an attorney in god standing from any jurisdiction, (3) pass a background check, and (4) pass the MPRE with a minimum score of 75.

New Mexico doesn’t have a reciprocity agreement with any other state at the moment, so if you want to practice law in New Mexico you will need to sit for their Bar exam.

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

To download or request a complete application packet with testing information, requirements, and general information you will need to visit the New Mexico 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 $20.00 fee for application package, $31.00 fee for background check, $450 filing fee for law students who have been out of law school less than one year, and $800 filing fee for law students who have been out of law school more than one year.

If you need help paying for your New Mexico Bar Exam fees, visit http://lawschool.unm.edu/careers/bar/loans.php for loan information.

Testing Format

The New Mexico Bar Exam lasts three days, and it is given twice a year. Once in late February, and once in late January.

On the first day of the New Mexico Bar Exam you will be given ten essay exams.

On day two you will have two Multistate Performance Test questions.

On the third and final day you will take the Multistate Bar Exam which consists of 200 multiple choice questions.

The MBE score will count for 50% of your total Bar Exam score, and the essay answers and MPTs will make up the remaining 50%. To pass you will need to attain a combined score of 140.

Study Tips

Studying for the New Mexico 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 New Mexico Bar Association’s website at: www.nmexam.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.

For the essay and MPT portions of the New Mexico Bar Exam you should review the past Bar Exam that are available online, and make sure you are familiar with the following topics.

1. Administrative Law
2. Civil Procedures
3. Contracts
4. Criminal Law and Procedures
5. Evidence (New Mexico and Federal)
6. Family Law
7. Torts
8. Wills, Estate Planning, Trusts, and Related Tax Issues
9. Business Entities
10. Creditor/Debtor
11. Ethics
12. Real Property
13. Universal Commercial Code

What to Know About the Multistate Performance Test Questions

The Multistate Performance Test questions will be designed to test your ability to do “lawyer work.” They will test your proficiency in the following areas:

1. Problem Solving
2. Factual Analysis
3. Legal Analysis
4. Reasoning
5. Written Communication
6. Organization Skills
7. Project Management of Legal Tasks
8. Ability to recognize and respond to ethical dilemmas

What to Know About the Multistate Bar Exam

The Multistate Bar Exam is designed to test your general legal knowledge, and will cover the following topics:

1. Contracts
2. Criminal Law
3. Evidence
4. Real Property
5. Torts
6. Constitutional Law

Study Resources

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

For past New Mexico Bar Exam questions, application forms and general information go to:
www.nmexam.org

For New Mexico Rules of Civil Procedures go to:
www.act1.com/pdfs/NewMexico_OJ.pdf

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

For New Mexico Rules of Professional Conduct go to:
http://www.nmmcle.org/rules/prof_guidelines.asp

For ABA Rules of Professional Conduct go to:
http://www.abanet.org/cpr/mrpc/mrpc_home.html

For New Mexico Rules of Evidence go to:
http://www.lexisone.com/legalresearch/legalguide/states/new_mexico.htm

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

July 2005 New Mexico Bar Exam
http://www.nmexan.org/pdfs/july05exam.pdf

February 2005 New Mexico Bar Exam
http://www.nmexan.org/pdfs/feb05exam.pdf

July 2004 New Mexico Bar Exam
http://www.nmexan.org/pdfs/july04exam.pdf

February 2004 New Mexico Bar Exam
http://www.nmexan.org/pdfs/Feb04exam.pdf

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