Everything You Need to Know About the Washinton State Bar Exam

So you have completed your law school education and now you are ready to take your final steps towards becoming a Washington lawyer. However, now you have to face the daunting task of taking the Washington Bar Exam. With an overall passing rate of 80-83% you have a good chance of passing this professional obstacle if you prepare for it. There are many things you will need to know before you sit for the Washington 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 Washington Bar Exam.

Application Procedure

Washington State Bar Association
C/O the Admissions Department
2101 Fourth Avenue, Suite 400
Seattle, Washington 98121-2330
(800) 945-WSBA

To sit for the Washington Bar you need to (1) have graduated with a Juris Doctorate from an American Bar Association approved law school, or (2) you must have been licensed to practice law in another U.S. state or territory and practiced actively for 3 or the preceding 5 years, or (3) you must have been licensed to practice law in a country that utilizes the Common Law of England as their basis for their jurisprudence and have actively practice there for at least three of the preceding five years, or (4) you must have completed the Washington Law Clerk Program. Unlike other states the MBE and the MPRE are not administered in Washington Bar Examination.

For more information about the Washington Law Clerk Program please visit: http://www.wsba.org/lawyers/licensing/faq-rule6.htm.

The application packet will contain:

1. (2) copies of the application
2. General information about taking the Washington Bar Exam
3. (1) copy of the Admission to Practice Rules and Policies pamphlet
4. (1) copy of the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct (Use this to study for day three of the WA Bar Exam)
5. Information on hotels that are close to the testing site

To download or request a complete application packet with testing information, requirements, and general information you will need to visit the Washington State Bar website at the address listed above. 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 $460 for the general applicants, $735 for attorney applicants, $985 for foreign applicant, $360 for substantive portion of the exam only, $235 for the Rules of Professional Conduct portion of the exam only, and if you need to retake all portions of the exam again then the price is the same as if you are a first time applicant.

Testing Format

The Washington Bar Exam lasts two and a quarter days, and it is given twice a year. Once in late February, and once in late January at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington.

The first day of the Washington Bar exam will be broken up into three two hour and fifteen minute sessions with a half hour break in the morning and an hour break for lunch. During each session you will be given three essay questions to answer.

Day two will be formatted the same as day one and you will be given the same amount of essay questions.

Day three will be made up of (1) two hour and fifteen minute session in which you will have six essay questions to answer on the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct.

Each essay question is worth 10 points, with 180 points possible. You have to earn a score of at least 126 points on the essay questions and at least 42 points on the professional responsibility section to pass the Washington Bar Exam. Results from your exam will be mailed to you 71 days after the exam has been completed, and results will be posted on the WASB website the Monday after the results are mailed off.

Study Tips

Studying for the Washington 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 following WSBA link: http://www.wsba.org/lawyers/licensing/bar-review-course.htm.

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 Washington Bar Exam

The following topics will be covered in both a general manner, and in some cases they will be examined as to how Washington Laws impact them. You will need to know rules, regulations, and general applications and procedures that apply to these topics.

1. Administrative Law
2. Corporations
3. Limited Liability Corporations
4. Criminal Law, including substantive crimes and defenses
5. Torts
6. UCC Articles I, II, III, IV, IX
7. Real and Personal Property
8. Conveyancing, financing, leasing use and zoning
9. Family Law
10. Wills, Probate, and Trusts
11. Business Law
12. Partnerships
13. Constitutional Law for both Washington and Federal applications
14. Commercial Transactions
15. Community Property
16. Contracts
17. Trial Procedures
18. Professional Conduct

Study Resources

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

For past Washington Bar Exam questions, application forms and general information go to:

For Washington Rules of Civil Procedures go to:

For Federal Rules of Civil Procedures go to:

For Washington Rules of Professional Conduct go to:

For Washington Rules of Evidence go to:

For Federal Rules of Evidence go to:

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