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MISSOURI BOARD of
LAW EXAMINERS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following questions are frequently asked about admission to the bar of Missouri. Each of the questions is linked to the corresponding answer. For complete information, please refer to the Missouri Supreme Court Rules Governing Admission to the Bar as well as corresponding areas of this website.

No information provided on this website overrides, waives, or amends the provisions of the rules and regulations.

For technical assistance with our website via email or to provide feedback regarding the website, click here.

Admission Eligibility


- What address should my law school use to mail the official transcript to the MBLE office?
- What documentation is accepted as proof of my U.S. citizenship, my status as a lawful permanent resident (LPR), or my status as a non-immigrant alien authorized to work in the U.S., as required by Rule 8.03?
- What can I do if I am unable to provide the required United State Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) documentation or my documentation is expired?
- Do I have any privacy rights associated with the use of my proof of U.S. citizenship, my status as a lawful permanent resident, or my status as a non-immigrant alien authorized to work in the U.S. for the Application for Character and Fitness Report?
- How do I challenge information provided by USCIS?
- Can I appeal the board's decision if it is based on inaccurate USCIS information?
- I will not have taken the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) before exam results are released in Missouri. Can I practice before my MPRE score is certified to Missouri?

Application Process


- How are the fees I need to pay determined?
- What are the acceptable forms of payment for application filing fees?
- Is there a processing fee if I pay my application filing fee by debit or credit card?
- What are some possible reasons my credit card transaction may be declined?
- What is the NCBE Number and why do you ask for it?
- I have previously filed an application with the Missouri Board of Law Examiners (MBLE). How do I know if I have an NCBE Number on file with MBLE?
- Am I required to update the NCBE each time I take a bar examination?
- If I have already taken the MPRE or a bar examination in another jurisdiction, do I already have an NCBE Number?
- What types of applications require an uploaded photo?
- What are the requirements for an uploaded photo?
- My Photo is "Expired." How do I upload a new photo?
- Can I submit external documents, such as my birth certificate and driver records, to MBLE prior to submitting my application electronically?
- What documents am I allowed to upload from my user homepage?
- What formats can I upload a document in?
- How do I submit my fingerprints for the Application for Character and Fitness Report?
- How are my fingerprints used for the Application for Character and Fitness Report?
- Do I have any privacy rights associated with the use of my fingerprints for the Application for Character and Fitness Report?
- Can I appeal the board's decision if it is based on an inaccurate criminal history report?
- How do I challenge information that appears on my criminal history report?
- Can I postpone taking the bar after I have submitted my application for bar examination?

C&F Information


- What will happen if the Board has concerns about an applicant's character and fitness?
- How soon after filing an application will the applicant be advised of the Board's decision?
- As a law student, am I eligible for the reduced application filing fee of $200?
- As a law student, am I eligible to file for an early character and fitness determination?
- When considering whether an applicant possesses the requisite character and fitness for admission, what does the Board consider to be essential eligibility requirements for the practice of law?
- If I have a history of alcohol or drug issues, what resources are available to assist me?
- What kinds of conduct might indicate an applicant does not possess the requisite character and fitness for admission?
- What weight and significance does the Board give to prior conduct?
- Does the Board have to prove an applicant is unfit, or does the applicant have to prove fitness?
- Who makes the final decision regarding admission?
- Is my file confidential?

Exam Information


- What score do I need to pass the MECT?
- What is the Missouri Educational Component (MECT)?
- How is the essay scaled score computed?
- How does the Board preserve anonymity in the essay grading process?
- What is expected in an answer to an essay question?
- Can I transfer an MBE score from another state?
- Can I ask that my exam be re-graded after the results are released?
- What techniques should I employ in answering the essay questions?
- Do I answer the essay questions according to Missouri law?
- When will I receive an Admittance Ticket?
- How do I transfer my Missouri MBE score to another jurisdiction?
- What score is required to pass the bar examination in Missouri?
- How will I find out if I passed the bar exam?
- Will I be told my exam score when results are released?
- Can I review my essay answers?
- Is there any limit on how many times I can take the exam?
- What do I need to do if I require medication or a medical device with me in the examination room or if there is a possibility that I might need medical assistance during the examination?
- What do I do if I need accommodations to take the exam because of a disability?
- What score does Missouri require to pass the MPRE?

General Information


- I just received notification that I passed the bar examination. May I take the Oath of Admission now so that I can practice law and still attend the upcoming Supreme Court enrollment ceremony?
- How and when will I get my bar membership card?
- I cannot attend the enrollment ceremony. How do I obtain my bar card and formal license?
- Assuming I pass the bar exam and am certified for admission, what do I have to do to be admitted to the bar?
- Can I get a copy of the application forms I submitted to the Board?

Motion Admission


- Will CLE attendance in another jurisdiction meet the requirements Supreme Court Rules 8.10(a)(6) and 15.05(d)?
- When can I attend the Missouri annual law update program?
- Where can I find a schedule for the Missouri Annual Law Update program?
- After attending the Missouri Annual Law Update program how do I obtain a Certificate of Compliance?

UBE Transfer Admission


- I understand that Missouri requires a UBE score of at least 260. If my UBE score is 260, but was not high enough to pass the bar in the jurisdiction where I sat for the UBE, can I still apply for admission in Missouri under Rule 8.09 "Admission by Transferred Uniform Bar Examination Score?"

Admission Eligibility


What address should my law school use to mail the official transcript to the MBLE office?

You should request an official transcript be mailed directly to our office by your school or submitted electronically by the school with email notification to our office at transcripts@courts.mo.gov. The transcript must include the date your J.D. degree was awarded. If mailed, either address may be used.  

If using overnight delivery be sure to use the street address.

P.O. Box 104236, Jefferson City, MO  65110-4236 or 1700 Jefferson Street, Jefferson City, MO  65109

 

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What documentation is accepted as proof of my U.S. citizenship, my status as a lawful permanent resident (LPR), or my status as a non-immigrant alien authorized to work in the U.S., as required by Rule 8.03?

If you were born in the U.S., the board will accept a certified birth certificate issued by the appropriate city/county/state/federal certifying authority. For information on obtaining a Birth Certificate, please visit www.vitalrec.com.

If you are a U.S. citizen who was born abroad, we will accept a certified copy of a Certification of Birth (DS-1350) or a certified copy of the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240).  Contact the Department of State website for more information.

We do not accept hospital birth certificates, foreign birth certificates, or passports.  We will verify your status as a naturalized citizen, LPR, or nonimmigrant alien authorized to work through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.  USCIS will not verify an individual's status as a citizen from a passport.  Therefore, we cannot accept a photocopy of your passport as proof of citizenship.  Individuals who do not have their Citizenship/Naturalization documentation need to contact USCIS.  A Form N-565 can be used to obtain a replacement document. 

We have confirmed with the USCIS that you may make copies of your green card or your naturalization certificate to provide to our office, despite the statement on these documents prohibiting photocopying.

The documents you submit become a part of the Board's file and will not be returned to you.

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What can I do if I am unable to provide the required United State Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) documentation or my documentation is expired?

Visit the Department of Homeland Security - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website to find your local USCIS office to obtain the required documentation.

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Do I have any privacy rights associated with the use of my proof of U.S. citizenship, my status as a lawful permanent resident, or my status as a non-immigrant alien authorized to work in the U.S. for the Application for Character and Fitness Report?

Yes, every applicant who submits the required documentation as part of the Application for Character and Fitness Report has a right to privacy.  The board is required to follow the Privacy Act and other applicable laws, regulations and policies in conducting verifications as well as safeguarding and maintaining any data provided by USCIS.

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How do I challenge information provided by USCIS?

Visit the Department of Homeland Security - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for information on how to challenge or correct information on your immigration record.

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Can I appeal the board's decision if it is based on inaccurate USCIS information?

Yes, Rule 8.12 outlines the procedure for applicants to appeal the board's initial eligibility determination.  You should also visit the Department of Homeland Security - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for information on how to challenge or correct information on your immigration record.

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I will not have taken the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) before exam results are released in Missouri. Can I practice before my MPRE score is certified to Missouri?

No.  If you are successful on the bar examination, compliance with the MPRE requirement of Rule 8.08(b) will be necessary before you can be licensed.  Supreme Court Rule 8.08(b) requires that a certified MPRE scaled score of not less than 80 be received by the Board no later than one year after the date of written notification that you have passed the examination given in Missouri.  Further, your bar examination scores cannot be released to you and your name cannot be included on the list of successful candidates posted on the Internet, or otherwise released to the public, until you have met all requirements for admission, including passing the MPRE.  Until you are admitted, we cannot transfer MBE scores to another jurisdiction and the National Conference of Bar Examiners will not release the UBE score.

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Application Process


How are the fees I need to pay determined?

The fees are determined by the type of application submitted in addition to when the application is submitted electronically and when the Authorization and Release and applicable fee are postmarked.  Late submission of either the application, Authorization and Release, or fee will result in increased fees and/or denial to sit for the associated bar examination.

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What are the acceptable forms of payment for application filing fees?

Application filing fees can be paid by one of the following methods:

Cashier's Check; Money Order; Corporate Check; Law Firm Check; Debit or Credit Card

If you intend to pay an application filing fee by cashier's check, money order, corporate check or law firm check, you must select that method of  payment during the submission of your application. Please make checks payable to: "Clerk of the Supreme Court."  Checks must be postmarked by the filing deadline by which you electronically submitted your application. Please retain a copy of your payment form to guard against loss and ensure proof of timely filing, ship by overnight carrier, return receipt and/or required signature by receiver to the following address:

Missouri Board of Law Examiners
1700 Jefferson Street
Jefferson City, MO  65109

In order to use a debit or credit card to charge your application filing fee, once your application is complete and you click the "Submit Application" button you will be directed to the Payment Options screen where you must select the credit card option. (Debit cards are processed as a credit card transaction.) The Missouri Board of Law Examiner's office employees (including Technical Support) are NOT able to process the payment of any filing fees manually.

Once you submit your card information on the website, the issuer of the card will either approve or reject the transaction. If approved, the transaction is PENDING, awaiting the Board's card processor to either accept or reject it. If the Board's card processor accepts it, the transaction is successful, it processes and your application is submitted at the same time. You will receive an email stating that your transaction was APPROVED.

If a transaction is denied by the Board or the Board's card processor for any reason, that transaction will never process and your application will not be submitted. You will receive an email stating your transaction was DECLINED. However, your card may show that transaction PENDING for a few days, then it should disappear.

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Is there a processing fee if I pay my application filing fee by debit or credit card?

Yes. If using a debit or credit card to pay the application filing fee, a processing fee will be charged. The processing fee will appear when you choose the credit card method of payment.

Schedule of Web Processing Fees

Transaction Amount Processing Fee
$0-$50.00 $1.25
$50.01-$75.00 $1.75
$75.01-$100.00 $2.15
$100.01 and up 2.15%

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: The processing fees added to your transaction are being paid to a third party vendor, Collector Solutions, Inc., not to the Missouri Board of Law Examiners.

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What are some possible reasons my credit card transaction may be declined?

1. The name on the credit card does not exactly match the name provided on the billing information screen. The name provided in billing information screen must match the name on the credit card used, which may not always be the applicant's name.

2. The address provided in the billing information screen does not exactly match the billing address for the credit card used to charge the filing fee. Note that the address provided in the billing information screen must be the same billing address as is on file for the credit card being used, which may not always be the same as the applicant's current address.

3. The credit card must have the capability of communicating with our security apparatus. Some very small credit card issuers do not have this capability and the transaction will never go through.

4. Non-sufficient Funds (NSF) generally occurs when an applicant unsuccessfully attempts to charge several times and the applicant's credit card stops further transactions. Please note that each time an applicant submits credit card information, it appears to the issuer of the credit card that a transaction is taking place. Therefore, the issuer of the credit card processes each attempt as a pending transaction, which could decrease the available line of credit. It can take a number of business days for the unsuccessful transactions to disappear from pending status and the corresponding available credit to reappear.

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What is the NCBE Number and why do you ask for it?

Beginning in 2013, the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) Number will be used for identification purposes when you take the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), and Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).  Applicants keep the same NCBE Number for life.  If you have not already done so, request your NCBE Number at www.ncbex.org/ncbe-number.  Note:  The online account you create to requst an NCBE Number is separate from your online registration account with MBLE. 

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I have previously filed an application with the Missouri Board of Law Examiners (MBLE). How do I know if I have an NCBE Number on file with MBLE?

If you have provided an NCBE Number to MBLE in a previous application, it will be shown in your personal MBLE registration account under "Edit Personal Information."  Note:  The online account you create to request an NCBE Number is separate from your online registration account with MBLE. 

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Am I required to update the NCBE each time I take a bar examination?

Yes, NCBE asks that applicants update their personal information on NCBE's website for each bar examination taken.  We suggest you update your personal information on NCBE's website as soon as you receive notice that MBLE has assigned your bar application to a processor.  Log in to your NCBE Number account and edit your personal information to reflect the new examination date.  Also visit the NCBE FAQs on the NCBE website. 

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If I have already taken the MPRE or a bar examination in another jurisdiction, do I already have an NCBE Number?

The NCBE Number was introduced in January 2012.  NCBE Numbers have been assigned only to those who have submitted requests online since January 2012.  If you tested before January 2012, you do not have an NCBE Number.  If you tested after Janaury 2012, you may have a NCBE Number.  You can request an NCBE Number from NCBE's website

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What types of applications require an uploaded photo?

Only applications for admission by examination are required to upload a photo.

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What are the requirements for an uploaded photo?

The acceptance of your photo is at the discretion of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners. 

Your photo must meet the following requirements:

Color photo.

Individual photo taken in front of a plain white background.

Taken within the past 6 months to reflect your current appearance.

Full face view, directly facing the camera, with a neutral expression and both eyes open.

Photo should only include your shoulders and head.

No hat or head covering unless worn for religious purposes.

Glasses are permitted; however, glare in the photo is not acceptable (glare can be avoided with a slight downward tilt of the glasses or by turning off the flash).

300 x 300 once uploaded and cropped.

Image result for front head silhouette

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My Photo is "Expired." How do I upload a new photo?

If your photo is over 6 months old, or your appearance has changed you are required to upload a new photo taken within the last 6 months that reflects your current appearance. To do so, click the "Edit Personal Info" link in the upper right corner of your user home page. The "Upload New Photo" button is located below the "Place of Birth" field.

Click here to review and verify that the photo you are uploading meets the photo upload requirements. 

Please submit a Technical Support Request, found at the bottom of the screen, if you have any issues uploading your photo.

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Can I submit external documents, such as my birth certificate and driver records, to MBLE prior to submitting my application electronically?

Yes.  External documents submitted to MBLE will be held and matched to your application when it is received.  Make sure any external documents include your name (and SSN or DOB if possible) so we can identify the documents as yours.

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What documents am I allowed to upload from my user homepage?

After submitting your application electronically, the board will allow applicants to upload most supporting documents through their user homepage.  

 

The only supporting documents that cannot be uploaded, and instead an original document be provided, are:

  • Final Law School Transcript show JD awarded
  • Certificates of Good Standing
  • Disciplinary Statements
  • Petition, supporting forms, and supporting documents for a request for accommodations on the bar examination.
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What formats can I upload a document in?

The upload document feature accepts a wide range of formats including, but not limited to, Excel, GIF, JPEG, PDF and Word.  

However, the board requests applicants create scanned PDF documents when available.

Under no circumstances should an applicant upload an image file that contains any background other than the document being uploaded.

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How do I submit my fingerprints for the Application for Character and Fitness Report?

Within Missouri:

Register online at Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) to schedule a fingerprint appointment. Our registration number is: 2948. Questions about this process may be directed to Cogent at 1-877-862-2425 or to the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 1-573-526-6312. Applicants must submit their fingerprints electronically before their character and fitness will be approved.

Outside of Missouri:

Applicants must submit their fingerprints before their character and fitness will be approved. Out-of-state applicants follow these procedures:

Out-of-State Applicant Fingerprint Instructions

  1. Obtain two inked/scanned sets of fingerprints captured on a standard FBI-258 applicant fingerprint card.
  2. Register online at MACHS.  You will need to enter this four digit agency registration number: 2948.  INCLUDE TCN ID NUMBER ON BACK OF FINGERPRINT CARDS
  3. Complete payment (online credit payment accepted or send money order with fingerprint cards).
  4. Mail the cards (and if applicable, payment) to:

3M Cogent
MissouriCard Scan
639 N Rosemead Blvd.
Pasadena, CA   91107

Questions about this process may be directed to Cogent at 1-877-862-2425 or to the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 573-526-6312

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How are my fingerprints used for the Application for Character and Fitness Report?

Fingerprints are submitted to law enforcement for a criminal records check of both state and federal repositories, including the FBI.

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Do I have any privacy rights associated with the use of my fingerprints for the Application for Character and Fitness Report?

Yes, every applicant who submits fingerprints as part of the Application for Character and Fitness Report has rights of privacy as discussed in the Non-criminal Justice Applicant's Privacy Rights Notice.

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Can I appeal the board's decision if it is based on an inaccurate criminal history report?

Yes.  Rule 8.12 outlines the process an applicant can take in order to appeal the board's initial decision.

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How do I challenge information that appears on my criminal history report?

Visit the Identification Record Request/Criminal Background Check area of the FBI's website for how to challenge information that appears on your criminal history report.

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Can I postpone taking the bar after I have submitted my application for bar examination?

Yes.  Regulation 3 to Rule 8.07 provides that an applicant may postpone taking the exam and carry forward the application fee one time to the next scheduled exam by providing written notice no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day before the exam the applicant applied to take.  We strongly prefer that the written notice of postponement be submitted by e-mail to mble@courts.mo.gov to ensure timely receipt.  A postponement fee will be due within ten days, based on the date the written notice is received.  The amount will be posted on the applicant's user home page upon receipt of the postponement request.  Section L of the fee schedule lists the postponement fee amounts ($100 to $285). 

Although your application fee will be carried forward, you still must submit a new application for the next examination by the equivalent filing deadline used to register for the current examination.  Review the Fee Schedule and the submission date for this examination application to determine the necessary postmark and submission date for the application for the next scheduled examination.   If you miss the corresponding filing deadline you will be required to pay the difference between the two fees.  In the event that you fail to submit a new application (and any applicable additional fees) by the last filing deadline, you will not be registered for the examination and will forfeit your application fee.

As stated in Regulation 3 to Rule 8.07, by allowing you to postpone taking the examination the board in no way waivers, alters, or extends any time limits or other provisions of Rule 8, including but not limited to Regulation 7 to Rule 8.08.  The regulation does not allow an application fee to be carried forward past the next scheduled bar exam or carried forward a second time.

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C&F Information


What will happen if the Board has concerns about an applicant's character and fitness?

The Board might do any of the following: (1) ask the applicant to address those concerns in writing; (2) ask the applicant to participate in an informal telephone conversation to discuss the concerns; (3) require the applicant to appear personally at a hearing before the Board pursuant to Rule 8.12(b); or, (4) issue a preliminary denial.

If the Board requests an applicant to address concerns in writing, the applicant should provide a detailed and complete response to the inquiry and attach any relevant verifying documentation. Applicants who do not timely respond may be denied for failing to cooperate in the investigation.

Applicant who are requested to participate in an informal telephone conversation will be notified in writing of the Board's request in writing and provided with a selection of dates and times for availability.  The informal telephone conversation is a continuance of the board's investigative function and a fact-finding process rather than an adversarial proceeding.  The conversation will be recorded for future reference and the applicant is placed under oath.  

Applicants who are required to appear for a hearing will be notified in writing of the concerns the applicant is expected to address, as well as the tentative date and location of the hearing. A character and fitness hearing is a fact-finding rather than an adversarial process, and hearings proceed informally. Nonetheless, testimony is taken under oath and a court reporter is present to transcribe the hearing, which will be part of the record on any appeal to the Supreme Court of Missouri. Applicants may retain legal counsel but are not required to do so. Following the hearing, the applicant will be notified in writing of the decision. If the Board denies approval, the applicant can file an appeal and will be granted a second hearing before the Board. If the Board affirms its decision, the applicant can file an appeal for review of the record by the Supreme Court of Missouri pursuant to Rule 8.12(d).

An applicant who is preliminarily denied will be notified in writing of the reasons. The applicant has fifteen days from the date of the notice to appeal the decision. If the applicant appeals, a hearing will be held before the Board. If the Board affirms its denial, the applicant can appeal for review by the Supreme Court as explained in the paragraph above.

If the Board approves an applicant's character and fitness subsequent to a hearing, a transcript of the hearing will not be ordered by the Board.  An applicant can request a transcript and will be responsible for all associated costs.

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How soon after filing an application will the applicant be advised of the Board's decision?

The investigation process takes considerable time. Most investigations can be completed in three to six months but some can take longer. The thoroughness with which the applicant completes the application, when the application was filed in relation to the filing deadlines and the extensiveness of the applicant's background are the primary variables in the length of time it takes to complete an investigation. Delays result when the applicant does not provide complete or accurate information or doesn't respond timely to requests for further information.  Furthermore, investigations are initiated in the order applications are received.  It is in the applicant's best interest to file an application during the first filing deadline, if applicable.  Filing after the first filing deadline could possibly delay the completion of the investigation until after grade release.

When the investigation is complete, the applicant will receive written notice of the board's decision. If the board has not reached a decision by the date an applicant is to sit for the exam, the applicant may take the exam. If the board denies the application and the Supreme Court affirms the denial, the applicant's exam is void.

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As a law student, am I eligible for the reduced application filing fee of $200?

If you file the Application for Character and Fitness Report by the first June 30 after you begin law school, you qualify for the reduced application filing fee.  Please refer to Section E of the Fee Schedule.

If your start date for law school varies or if you are a part-time law student, please contact this office for clarification of eligibility under Rule 8.05(c).

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As a law student, am I eligible to file for an early character and fitness determination?

If you are in your first year of law school and file the Application for Character and Fitness Report by the first June 30 after you begin law school, you qualify for a reduced application filing fee. Refer to section E of the Fee Schedule. However, once the first June 30 after you began law school has passed, you no longer qualify for the reduced fee, but you may still file the application to seek an early character and fitness determination in your second year of law school (i.e., prior to applying to take the bar exam) pursuant to Rule 8.05(c), if you submit your application by the second June 30 after you began law school.  Once the second June 30 after you began law school has passed, you cannot seek an early determination and must wait and file the Application for Character and Fitness Report at the same time you submit your Application for Bar Examination, in accord with the exam filing deadlines set out in Rule 8.07.

If your start date for law school varies or if you are a part-time law student, please contact this office for clarification of eligibility under Rule 8.05(c).

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When considering whether an applicant possesses the requisite character and fitness for admission, what does the Board consider to be essential eligibility requirements for the practice of law?

In fulfilling its obligation to determine if an applicant possesses the requisite character and fitness for admission, the Board considers the following to be essential eligibility requirements for the practice of law:

(1) having the cognitive capacity to learn, to recall what has been learned, to reason, and to analyze;

(2) having the ability to communicate clearly with clients, attorneys, courts, and others;

(3) conducting oneself with a high degree of honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness;

(4) conducting oneself in accordance with and with respect for the law and the Code of Professional Responsibility;

(5) conducting oneself diligently and reliably in fulfilling obligations to clients, attorneys, courts, and others;

(6) complying with deadlines and time constraints;

(7) avoiding acts that exhibit disregard for the rights or welfare of others;

(8) exercising good judgment in conducting one's professional affairs;

(9) demonstrating honesty and good judgment in financial dealings on behalf of oneself, clients, and others; and

(10) conducting oneself professionally and in a manner that engenders respect for the law and the legal profession.

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If I have a history of alcohol or drug issues, what resources are available to assist me?

The Missouri Board of Law Examiners encourages applicants dealing with substance abuse concerns to seek help.  The Missouri Lawyers Assistance Program (MOLAP) offers free, professional and confidential resources to assist both law students, attorneys, judges and their families struggling with these and other issues including depression, stress and burnout.  Services include counseling, crisis intervention, education and prevention.  More information about MOLAP and its services can be found on The Missouri Bar's website.  This website also features an informative video regarding the services offered by MOLAP and highlights the personal and professional value of addressing substance abuse concerns.

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What kinds of conduct might indicate an applicant does not possess the requisite character and fitness for admission?

Factors that the Board considers before making a recommendation to the Supreme Court of Missouri regarding an applicant's character and fitness include, but are not limited to:

  • Unlawful conduct.
  • Failure to provide complete and accurate information or lack of candor in the application or investigation. Academic or other misconduct at an educational institution.
  • Misconduct in employment.
  • Acts involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
  • Financial irresponsibility.
  • Lack of respect for the legal system, including abuse of legal process.
  • A condition or disorder (including, but not limited to alcohol abuse, substance abuse, or a mental, emotional, or nervous disorder or condition) that currently impairs behavior, judgment, understanding, capacity to recognize reality, ability to function in school, work, or other important life activities, or ability to practice law in a competent and professional manner.
  • Denial of an application in another jurisdiction on character and fitness grounds.
  • Disciplinary action by a lawyer disciplinary agency or other professional agency of any jurisdiction.
  • Neglect of professional obligations.

More detailed explanation is provided below for certain of these factors.

Unlawful Conduct

A criminal conviction is a negative factor but it does not automatically disqualify an applicant who demonstrates rehabilitation or other mitigating circumstances. However, any person who has been convicted, whether sentence is imposed or not, of any felony is not eligible to apply for admission until five years after the date of successful completion of any sentence or period of probation as a result of the conviction, plea or finding of guilt. See Rule 8.04(a).

The Board inquires into all arrests even if no conviction resulted. There are many reasons why an arrest might not result in a conviction; some of these reasons have no bearing on guilt or innocence. The Board inquires into the underlying conduct. Acquittal or dismissal is relevant but is not dispositive of the issue. This is not to suggest, however, that the Board assumes that an arrest means the applicant was guilty of the conduct alleged.

Lack of Candor in the Application or During the Investigation

Failure to disclose relevant information, giving false information, misrepresenting facts, or other dishonesty or lack of candor in either the application or the investigation is the factor that is most likely to result in denial. The application is filed under oath with the Missouri Supreme Court and applicants are expected to complete the application with the level of care that an attorney would exercise in filing a pleading with a court. Dishonesty in the application or investigation is recent conduct, and an applicant will have difficulty proving that such conduct is not indicative of current character.

Misconduct at an Educational Institution

The Board takes a hard look at applicants found guilty of plagiarism or an honor code violation. Such conduct indicates a lack of honesty and integrity and an attempt to gain an unfair advantage over one's classmates. The Board frequently denies applicants because of academic misconduct.

Misconduct in Employment

Employers are asked, among other things, about the applicant's honesty, reliability, and responsibility, and the reason employment ended. The Board generally will require an applicant to explain any information that raises legitimate concern about the applicant's behavior in the workplace. Candor in the application frequently goes hand-in-hand with this issue when applicants do not disclose that they were fired or allowed to resign in lieu of being fired. Therefore, the Board recommends providing a detailed explanation in the application of any alleged misconduct rather than waiting for the Board to discover the allegation and require an explanation.

Financial Irresponsibility

The Board does not require a perfect credit record, but does expect applicants to deal responsibly with creditors and to exercise good judgment. This includes maintaining contact with creditors and attempting to make payment arrangements. Failure to pay child support, student loans, taxes, or judgments generally will be considered to indicate a lack of responsibility.

Lack of Respect for the Legal System

This might be indicated by consistent failure to appear for court dates, repeated violation of traffic laws, filing of frivolous lawsuits, or disregard for court orders. Applicants are expected to conduct themselves professionally and in a manner that engenders respect for the law, the courts, and the profession.

Condition or Disorder that Impairs the Applicant's Ability to Practice Law

The Board inquires in the application about diagnosis of or treatment for specific serious mental illnesses. In addition, the Board inquires if the applicant currently has any disorder or condition that impairs the applicant relevant to the practice of law. "Currently" means recently enough that the disorder or condition might have an ongoing impact on the applicant's functioning as a lawyer. Applicants are asked to provide their treatment history and explain the current status and management of their disorder or condition. The Board seeks to determine if the applicant is committed to and compliant with following recommended treatment that successfully manages the disorder or condition. If the disorder or condition involves alcohol or drug dependency, the Board looks at the stability of the recovery and duration of abstention to determine if there is a significant risk of relapse. As provided in Rule 8.11(b), the Board may have the applicant's treatment records reviewed by a mental health or other professional. If necessary, the applicant may be referred for a substance abuse evaluation or a mental health evaluation by a professional approved by the Board. The mere diagnosis with or treatment for a disorder or condition is not, in itself, a basis for denial, and the Board encourages applicants who may benefit from treatment to seek it.

Denial of Application in Another Jurisdiction

Denial of an applicant on character and fitness grounds by another state does not mean the Board will deny the applicant. However, the Board will inquire fully into the other state's reasons for denial.

Disciplinary Action and Neglect of Professional Obligations

Rule 8.04(d) provides that a person with a pending disciplinary complaint or who is suspended from the practice of law or disbarred in any state is not eligible to apply for admission in Missouri. Favorable resolution of a disciplinary complaint or reinstatement to the bar will not foreclose the Board from denying the applicant.

Disciplinary action against or suspension or revocation of any professional license will trigger scrutiny of the circumstances leading to that action. Likewise, evidence that an applicant failed to responsibly attend to professional obligations will be cause for concern regardless of whether a complaint was lodged.

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What weight and significance does the Board give to prior conduct?

The following factors are considered in determining if prior conduct is indicative of an applicant's current character and fitness qualifications:

  • Applicant's age at the time of the conduct;
  • Recency of the conduct;
  • Reliability of the information concerning the conduct;
  • Seriousness of the conduct;
  • Factors underlying the conduct;
  • Cumulative effect of the conduct;
  • Evidence of rehabilitation, such as positive social contributions since the conduct.
  • Applicant's candor in disclosing the conduct; and
  • Applicant's acceptance of responsibility for the conduct.
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Does the Board have to prove an applicant is unfit, or does the applicant have to prove fitness?

A license to practice law in this state is a privilege. Applicants bear the burden of proving requisite character and fitness.

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Who makes the final decision regarding admission?

The Supreme Court of Missouri makes the final decision regarding admission. If the Board of Law Examiners denies an applicant on character or fitness or eligibility grounds, the applicant can appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court as provided in Rule 8.12(d).

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Is my file confidential?

Yes, except that the Board may disclose information to sources contacted during its character and fitness investigation to the extent disclosure is necessary to identify the information being sought. In addition, the Board may disclose information to lawyer disciplinary or admissions authorities in other jurisdictions when the information relates to possible unethical conduct by a lawyer or a person applying for licensure in that jurisdiction.

If the Board denies an applicant on character and fitness or eligibility grounds and the applicant appeals the Board's decision, relevant information in the applicant's file may necessarily become part of the public record during any appeal filed by the applicant in the Supreme Court.  An applicant may request on appeal to the Court that the record be closed.

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Exam Information


What score do I need to pass the MECT?

You must receive a passing score of 28 out of 33 questions in order to print the Certificate of Completion, sign and either upload it or mail it to the Board of Law Examiners. 

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What is the Missouri Educational Component (MECT)?

The State of Missouri has adopted the Uniform Bar Examination ("UBE") for all applicants seeking licensure in the State. Because the UBE tests on uniform principals of law, the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Missouri Board of Law Examiners have prepared a mandatory open book test ("Missouri Educational Component Test" or "MECT") for all applicants to complete as a condition of licensure in accordance with Rule 8.08(c).

The review materials ("Missouri Materials") include eleven outlines on the subjects of Torts, Civil Procedure, Real Property, Trusts, Estates, Family Law, Business Associations, Administrative Law, Missouri Courts, Evidence and Trust Accounts.  The Missouri Materials and the MECT are located at http://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=325.

The Missouri Materials are intended to assist Missouri bar applicants. The Missouri Materials are distributed and presented with the understanding that the Missouri Board of Law Examiners, its committees, authors, reviewers and speakers do not render legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice. The Missouri Materials are provided as research information to be used by bar applicants for the MECT. The Missouri Materials may be used beyond the MECT by the applicants, in conjunction with other research deemed necessary in the exercise of their independent professional judgment. Original and fully current sources of authority should be researched. Although every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the Missouri Materials, the law continues to change and there is no guarantee that every statement is correct. The MECT will be graded upon the information provided in the Missouri Materials as posted at the time of the test given even if such information is later deemed to be incorrect. The Missouri Materials and the MECT are provided in English only.

All exam applicants must take the MECT and must sign the Certificate of Completion. Once issued and signed by you, the Certificate of Completion may be uploaded from you user home page or may be mailed to the Board of Law Examiners during the time frame outlines in Rule 8.08(c). Prior to mailing, please make certain that your name, email address and telephone number are correct on the form. All Certificates of Completion may be mailed to the Board of Law Examiners, P.O. Box 104236, Jefferson City, MO  65110-4236. Your test score is valid in accordance with Rule 8.08(c) from the issue date on the Certificate of Completion.

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How is the essay scaled score computed?

The applicant's raw scores on the essays and MPT are added to obtain a total raw essay score. That raw score is converted to a scaled score using the standard deviation method of scaling. Scaling puts the total raw essay scores on the same 200 point scale as the MBE scores. This does not mean that any particular applicant's score is determined by his or her MBE score.

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How does the Board preserve anonymity in the essay grading process?

Each answer is identified only by an applicant exam number during the grading process. Grades are recorded by that applicant exam number. Exam scores are calculated with applicants identified only by that applicant exam number. Applicants names are matched with the numbers by personnel in the Office of the Board of Law Examiners when results are final and ready to be released.

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What is expected in an answer to an essay question?

 A good answer should demonstrate:

  • Responsiveness to the specific inquiry or inquiries in the question.
  • Legal and factual analytical ability.
  • Knowledge of the principles of law involved and the application of those principles to the facts.
  • Ability to effectively communicate your answer.

The examination does not seek a recitation of legal rules by rote, but rather a demonstration of knowledge of legal principles and the ability to think and reason by applying those principles to the facts so as to come to a logical and coherent conclusion. Answers that are not responsive to the question asked will receive little or no points.

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Can I transfer an MBE score from another state?

Yes. Applicants who have taken the MBE as part of another state's bar examination may transfer that score to Missouri provided the following conditions are met: (a) the applicant has not previously failed the Missouri bar examination; (b) the transferred score must have been attained in an exam administered within 19 months preceding the Missouri examination, and (c) the applicant must have passed the entire bar examination in one administration in the transferring state. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that the transferred score is certified to Missouri by the transferring state or by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Applicants who transfer an MBE score to Missouri and sit for only the essay portion of the examination will earn a score that can be used ONLY to seek admission in Missouri.  It is does not result in a UBE score.

Applicants are allowed to use a transferred MBE score one time. If the applicant does not pass on the first attempt, the applicant must take both the essay and the MBE in any subsequent attempts. The applicant's transferred MBE scaled score and the applicant's essay scaled score are used to determine if the applicant has achieved a passing score.  Missouri receives MBE scores rounded to one decimal place.

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Can I ask that my exam be re-graded after the results are released?

No. Prior to release, the results of the examination is subjected to numerous rounds of verification and proofing to ensure that all scores are mathematically correct and accurately reported to the applicant. In addition, all MEE and MPT answers of any applicant whose preliminary total scaled score is within a set range are automatically re-graded PRIOR to release of exam results. The regrading is "blind" in that the graders do not know what scores were assigned originally. Further, we do not disclose to applicants or to the graders what the set score range is that prompts regrading. The range is set sufficiently wide, however, to encompass any applicant whose pass/fail status realistically could be changed by re-grading.

The Board will not grant any requests for re-grading of essays after results are released. No exceptions are made to this policy. In addition, there is no appeal of essay exam scores.  Applicants may not review their MEE, MPT or MBE answers. 

MBE answers are machine scored by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Applicants may request MBE score verification to verify that the machine scoring was accurate. To request that your MBE answer sheet be hand-scored you must submit a written request to our office that includes your name, social security number, the date you took the bar examination and a check made payable to "NCBE" in the amount of $50.00.  We will submit your request to NCBE and notify you, generally about four weeks after we receive your request, of the outcome of the hand-scoring.  Requests for score verifications must be received by NCBE before the next administration of the MBE. 

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What techniques should I employ in answering the essay questions?

The Board suggests that applicants follow these guidelines in answering the essay questions:

  • Read the question carefully.
  • Get the facts straight and understand what you are being asked before you begin to write.
  • Briefly outline the issues and think through the answer before you begin to write.
  • Restate the facts only insofar as necessary to explain your answer.
  • Respond to the query or queries posed in the question.
  • Most questions can be effectively answered by identifying the issues, stating the applicable rules of law, analyzing the facts in the light of the rules, and arriving at a conclusion or conclusions.
  • Don't ignore issues merely because your conclusion on another issue would render them moot. Instead, address all issues fairly raised by the question in case your conclusion on the other issue is incorrect.
  • If a question explicitly eliminates an issue, do not try to raise that issue.
  • Avoid repetition. 
  • Write legibly or register to use your laptop. While points are not deducted for poor spelling or illegible handwriting, when such deficiencies make an answer unintelligible, credit cannot be given.
  • Avoid phonetic spellings and unorthodox abbreviations. Common abbreviations, such as "pl." for plaintiff and "def." for defendant will be recognized.
  • Use paragraphs and subheadings to separate ideas and issues in your answer.
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Do I answer the essay questions according to Missouri law?

No.  Since the adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination, the bar examination questions should be answered according to the law of general application and not the law of any specific state. 

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When will I receive an Admittance Ticket?

An Admittance Ticket will be posted to your user account approximately ten days before the examination.  Before that time you can review the examination schedule and the Examination Security Procedures/Code of Conduct, found on the About the Bar Exam page

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How do I transfer my Missouri MBE score to another jurisdiction?

To transfer an Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) score from Missouri to another jurisdiction, you must complete and submit this MBE Transfer Request form with the required fee. Missouri transfers scores directly and does not utilize the National Conference of Bar Examiners for this service.  These instructions do not pertain to the transfer of a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) total score.  UBE scores are transferred by NCBE.  Go to www.ncbex.org for a UBE transfer.

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What score is required to pass the bar examination in Missouri?

A total scaled score of at least 260 is required to pass the bar exam.  As set out in Regulation 4 to Rule 8.08, MBE scores are weighted 50%, MEE scores are weighted 30%, and MPT scores are weighted 20% in calculating total scores.  Weighting is applied to the MEE and MPT raw scores before the essay raw scores are converted to scaled scores.  An applicant's total score is the sum of the applicant's MBE scaled score and essay scaled score rounded to a whole number. 

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How will I find out if I passed the bar exam?

A list of the names of applicants who passed the exam AND have satisfied all other requirements of Rule 8 for admission is posted in the Announcements section on the web at www.mble.org on the day that results are released. Results letters will be posted to the applicant's user account.  Results cannot be given over the telephone, by email, or by fax, so please do not ask.

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Will I be told my exam score when results are released?

A "Report of Exam Scaled Scores" setting out the applicant's scaled essay, scaled MBE and total UBE score is posted to the homepage of all applicants. Applicants who pass the examination but have not yet met all other requirements for admission are notified that they passed the examination but their name is not posted on the Internet or otherwise released to the public until all requirements for admission have been satisfied.  Applicants must satisfy all requirements for admission within one year of the date of notification of passing the exam or their scores will be void, unless the time is extended by the Board for good cause shown. 

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Can I review my essay answers?

Applicants are not permitted to review their essay answers. The bar examination is not intended to be a teaching device but rather is intended to determine that persons admitted to The Missouri Bar have at least the minimum level of competence prescribed by the Supreme Court of Missouri.

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Is there any limit on how many times I can take the exam?

No. If you fail the exam, you may apply to retake the examination, and you may continue to do so until you pass.

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What do I need to do if I require medication or a medical device with me in the examination room or if there is a possibility that I might need medical assistance during the examination?

If you have any health-related or medical condition that may require special attention during the examination submit a Health-Related or Medical Condition form by February 1 for a February examination and by July 1 for a July examination.  If the need is for food/juice, medication, an assistive device, or special seating (unless the need is for wheelchair access), a statement from your medical doctor verifying your condition and supporting your need must be included.  This form does not apply to applicants seeking disability accommodations. 

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What do I do if I need accommodations to take the exam because of a disability?

Testing accommodations will be provided for applicants demonstrating a disability to the extent such accommodations are reasonable, consistent with the nature and purpose of the examination, and necessitated by the applicant's disability. Applicants needing accommodations must file a Request for Test Accommodations, including all required supporting documentation, with the Application for Bar Examination in accordance with the exam filing deadlines and fee schedule.

Instructions: General Instructions for Requesting Accommodations

Form 1: Application Request for Test Accommodations

Form 2: Learning Disability Verification

Form 3: Attention Deficit / Hyperactitivy Disorder Verification

Form 4: Psychological Disability Verification

Form 5: Visual Disability Verification

Form 6: Physical Disability Verification

Form 7: Certification of Accommodations History

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What score does Missouri require to pass the MPRE?

Applicants must achieve a scaled score of 80 or higher on the MPRE. A passing MPRE score does not grow stale or expire. The applicant's certified score must be received by the Board no later than one year after the date of written notification to the applicant of passing the bar examination. No applicant can be admitted to practice until having passed the MPRE. It is the applicants' responsibility to have a certified MPRE score reported to Missouri by NCBE.

A separate application is required for the MPRE, and it must be submitted to NCBE. Applicants may register for the MPRE online at www.ncbex.org. Paper application forms may be obtained by calling (319) 341-2500. The MPRE is administered three times a year (March, August, and November) at testing centers in several cities throughout the United States. Applicants may take the MPRE at any testing center (not just a Missouri center). An applicant need not have graduated from law school prior to taking the MPRE, and the MPRE may be taken an unlimited number of times.

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General Information


I just received notification that I passed the bar examination. May I take the Oath of Admission now so that I can practice law and still attend the upcoming Supreme Court enrollment ceremony?

If you have passed the bar examination, received notice from the Board that you have met all admission eligibility requirements and have received the Oath Verification Form from the Board, you may be sworn in now and still attend the ceremony.  Provide this office with a copy of the completed Oath Verification Form by uploading it from your MBLE user home page.  Keep the original Oath Verification Form in your permanent files.  You will receive your wall license and formal oath form for framing at the enrollment ceremony. 

 

If admission requirements are met after release of results, you will not receive an Oath Verification Form or instructions for taking the oath until you have been certified to the Supreme Court for admission.   This occurs twice a month throughout the year. 

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How and when will I get my bar membership card?

Bar numbers are assigned when an applicant meets all the requirements for admission. Bar membership cards are mailed the week following the ceremony to those candidates who attend.   An applicant who is unable to attend the enrollment ceremony will receive a membership card only after paperwork is received by the Board of Law Examiner's Office verifying the oath has been administered. Oath Verification Forms are posted to the user home pages of all applicants meeting the requirements for admission at the time exam results are released.  The Office of Attorney Enrollment distributes membership cards and electronic filing PINs and can be reached at 573-751-4144 or mae@courts.mo.gov.

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I cannot attend the enrollment ceremony. How do I obtain my bar card and formal license?

Your examination results letter will give you an email address to use to advise this office that you are unable to attend the ceremony.  Instructions will automatically be sent to you by return email in response to your notice to the specified email address.    

An Oath Verification Form will be posted to your user home page the same day that your scores are posted to your user home page.  Print out the form and have the official administering the oath complete it.  Upload the completed form from your MBLE user home page and keep the original in your permanent file.  The office of Attorney Enrollment will then be advised that you have completed the admission process.  In approximately two weeks Attorney Enrollment will mail an enrollment packet to you that includes your Missouri Bar membership card and an electronic PIN.  You can reach Attorney Enrollment at mae@courts.mo.gov or (573) 751-4144. 

Your license and formal Oath of Admission (8.5" x 14"), suitable for framing, will be mailed the week following the Supreme Court ceremony but only upon receipt of the completed Oath Verification Form showing you have been administered the oath.  The formal Oath of Admission suitable for framing may be signed by you and the official who administers the oath.  Do NOT return your formal Oath of Admission wall document to our office.

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Assuming I pass the bar exam and am certified for admission, what do I have to do to be admitted to the bar?

Taking the oath of admission set out in Rule 8.15 is the final step in the admission process. It is expected that applicants will take the oath at the enrollment ceremony held at the Supreme Court in Jefferson City. Applicants who are unable to attend can take the oath before any judge or other officer, including a notary public, authorized to administer an oath.  An Oath Verification Form will be provided via the applicant's User Home Page.

The oath must be taken within 90 days of the date that you are notified that you have met all the requirements for admission; failure to do so may result in revocation of your certification for admission. See Rule 8.15(a).

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Can I get a copy of the application forms I submitted to the Board?

If you did not keep, or cannot find, a copy of your application, you must complete this Copy Request form.  There is a $50 fee.  Submit the completed form to our office with a check in the amount of $50 made payable to "Board of Law Examiners."

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Motion Admission


Will CLE attendance in another jurisdiction meet the requirements Supreme Court Rules 8.10(a)(6) and 15.05(d)?

No.  Rule 8.10 requires applicants to complete a program on Missourilaw, the MissouriBar “Annual Law Update” CLEprogram, or an accredited CLEprogram that has substantially equivalent intellectual and practical content.  Contact the MCLE Department of The Missouri Bar at (573) 638-2233 or review Forms 11 and 12 on the Missouri Bar website.

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When can I attend the Missouri annual law update program?

You can attend no earlier than 12 months prior to the date you properly submit your application for admission and must be in compliance no later than 90 days after the date of written notification that your character and fitness has been approved.

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Where can I find a schedule for the Missouri Annual Law Update program?

Go to the Missouri Bar website or contact the MCLE Department of The Missouri Bar at (573) 638-2233.

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After attending the Missouri Annual Law Update program how do I obtain a Certificate of Compliance?

You should submit a Certificate of Compliance to The Missouri Bar for completion.  The Missouri Bar will confirm satisfaction of the requirement and send the approved Certificate of Compliance to the Board of Law Examiners.

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UBE Transfer Admission


I understand that Missouri requires a UBE score of at least 260. If my UBE score is 260, but was not high enough to pass the bar in the jurisdiction where I sat for the UBE, can I still apply for admission in Missouri under Rule 8.09 "Admission by Transferred Uniform Bar Examination Score?"

Yes.  Missouri does not condition acceptance of a transferred UBE score upon the applicant's passing status or admission to the bar where the UBE was earned. 

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