Bar Exam Information
The following instructions are, for the most part, condensed from Part I of the Alaska Bar Rules, Rules 1 through 8 inclusive. The Alaska Bar Rules can be found on the Alaska Court System website. We suggest you thoroughly acquaint yourself with both the content of these instructions and the Rules themselves before completing and submitting an application to take the Alaska Bar exam and seeking membership in the Alaska Bar Association.
Application and Instructions
All applicants for the Alaska Bar Examination must complete and file an "Application for Admission" with the Alaska Bar Association in Anchorage, Alaska. Reapplicants generally are to complete the "Reapplication for Admission" form which updates information provided on the original application.
- Applicants must provide full names, exact dates and current, complete mailing addresses, including zip codes, for any individual or entity listed on the application.
- For questions on criminal proceedings or disability, applicants must provide information as to where the records can be located (including name of office, address of office, offense, offense date, and case number).
- Failure to provide complete information may result in a delay in the processing of your application.
- The application must be typed and sworn to by the applicant.
All applicants must file:
- An application or reapplication.
- A Character & Fitness Statement form for EACH listing in Questions 8 & 9 of application.
- One properly executed Authorization and Release form.
- A certificate of graduation from the applicant’s law school, certifying that the applicant meets the educational requirements of Alaska Bar Rule 2, must be sent directly from the law school to the Alaska Bar. This certificate must be filed no later than twenty (20) days before the exam. (Do not send a law school transcript. Alaska Bar Rules require a certificate of graduation.) Note: The certificate of graduation MUST contain: your name, name of the law school, graduation date, that you earned a JD, and the school's seal.
- Two 2-inch by 2-inch photographs (passport photos) of the applicant, showing a front view of head and shoulders.
- One properly completed standard fingerprint card, as provided by the Bar upon request or at fingerprinting agencies. Please include your driver’s license number in the box marked "Miscellaneous No." See example for sections to leave blank (COMING SOON!).
- An application fee in the amount of $800, plus any appropriate late fees; or $500 reapplication fee. We take VISA, Mastercard, Discover, or a check made out to Alaska Bar Association.
- MPRE score transferred from another state
- Must be a scaled score of 80 or higher
- Special Accommodations Request (if applicable)
- Deadline to submit Special Accommodations Request: December 17, 2012 (February exam) and May 1, 2013 (July exam).
- Registration for ExamSoft to use your laptop computer (in Anchorage only.
- $100 additional nonrefundable charge; ExamSoft registration form and payment must be submitted with your bar exam application.
A reapplicant is one who has taken the Alaska Bar Exam within one year. If it has been more than one year since the applicant has taken the Alaska Bar Exam, the applicant must pay the full application fee, including any late fees. Reapplicants must submit the Reapplication for Admission form and an updated information list.
All applicants with a military history must complete and submit a Standard Form 180 with the application.
If a character investigation report by the National Conference of Bar Examiners was conducted within six months of the date of the application and is available to the Alaska Bar directly from the jurisdiction for whom the NCBE conducted its investigation, the application fee is $500. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make arrangements for the NCBE report to be sent to the Alaska Bar Association.
Any application received without payment of all required fees, or which is not substantially complete, will be promptly returned to the applicant with a notice stating the reasons for rejection.
Applicants will be notified no fewer than ten (10) days in advance of the bar examination whether their applications to take the exam has been approved. If an application is approved, the applicant will receive an examination permit which must be presented to the examination proctor on each day of the examination.
Resident aliens must file with their application, in addition to the above, an appropriate affidavit specifying sufficient facts to enable the admitting authority to verify their status with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
A refund for withdrawal from the exam is given only to applicants who formally withdraw in writing at least twenty days before the start of the exam. An applicant who has not formally withdrawn in writing and who fails to appear on the first day of an exam will have the application returned without a refund. An applicant who begins the exam but, for whatever reason, does not complete the exam, will not receive a refund and that portion of the exam completed by the applicant considered null and void. An applicant is not allowed to reschedule his/her exam or transfer exam fees from one exam to another.
Each applicant has an ongoing responsibility to keep their application updated, so that the information provided to the Bar concerning the applicant is both current and accurate. The Association must be promptly notified in writing of any change in circumstance relevant to your application for admission. This includes any change in a residence or business address, email address, telephone number, employment situation, or attorney membership status, any disciplinary action filed in another jurisdiction, any involvement in a criminal proceeding, or the recurrence or development of an emotional or physical disability or illness that would have a bearing on one’s fitness to practice law.
Failure to disclose a change in circumstance relevant to the information originally requested on the application itself shall be considered sufficient cause to withhold permission to sit for the exam, especially where that information might well be perceived as adversely reflecting on your fitness to practice law, and which is brought to the attention of the Board of Governors through another source or as a part of its routine character investigation. If, however, the information comes to light after the administration of the exam itself, the failure to disclose and amend the application shall be grounds for denying certification for admission. In either instance, a hearing may be scheduled on the matter as it reflects on the applicant’s good moral character.
Preparing for the Examination - The Alaska Bar Association neither sponsors nor endorses any review course and it has no control over the subject matter of a course or the location where a review course is offered.
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Scope of the Examination
Examination Dates - The Alaska Bar Examination is given twice a year. Examinations begin on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year.
Locations - Examinations are administered in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.
Length of the Examination - The examination is 2 ½ days in length, and consists of 1 ½ days of essay questions and 1 day of the MBE. The essay exam and the MBE are each weighted at 50% of the total score.
- One half-day (three hour) session will consist of three (3) "long" essay questions which will require substantial legal analysis. An answer should reflect an applicant’s knowledge and understanding of the pertinent principles and theories of law as applied in Alaska, their relationship to each other, and their qualifications and limitations. Answers should also demonstrate the applicant’s ability to apply the law to the facts given and to reason logically -- in a lawyer-like manner -- to a sound conclusion. This session is weighted at 30% of an applicant’s total essay score.
- One half-day (three hour) session will consist of six (6) "short" essays which will emphasize substantive knowledge of the law as applied in Alaska; an answer should reflect an applicant’s knowledge and understanding of the pertinent law, but will not require extensive discussion. This session is weighted at 45% of an applicant’s total essay score.
The essay questions are to be answered in accordance with the principles of law as applied in Alaska and may involve one or more issues on the following subjects:
Business Organizations (corporations, partnerships, associations)
Constitutional Law (State and Federal)
Contracts (including Chapter 2 of the UCC)
Criminal Law and Procedure
Torts (including Products Liability)
- One half-day (three hour) session will consist of two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) questions. The MPT, which is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), is not a test of substantive knowledge. Rather, it is designed to test an applicant’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. The materials for each MPT include a File and a Library. The specific task the applicant is to complete is described in a memorandum from a supervising attorney. This session is weighted at 25% of an applicant’s total essay score, (each MPT question is weighted 12.5%). For more information concerning the MPT, please visit the NCBE website or see the MPT information booklet.
- One full-day session will consist of the Multistate Bar Examination - Applicants are not allowed to transfer MBE scores from prior exams or other jurisdictions. All applicants must take the entire Alaska Bar Exam. The MBE is given on the last Wednesday in February and July of each year and is administered in two 3-hour sessions of 100 questions each. For more information concerning the MBE, please visit the NCBE website or see the MBE information booklet.
Pass/Fail Determinations - A passing score on the Alaska Bar Examination will be determined by: 1) "converting" the applicant’s weighted essay score according to the standard deviation method of statistical conversion; then 2) "combining" the applicant’s MBE scaled score and the applicant’s converted essay score. A combined score of 140.00 or above will be required to pass the Alaska Bar Examination.
Briefly, the term "combined" references a three-step procedure whereby 1) the applicant’s scores from the three sessions of the essay exam are mathematically weighted by the Bar to produce a Total Weighted Standardized Essay score (TWSE or "weighted" essay score); 2) the weighted essay score is then converted, via the standard deviation method, to a score on the range of MBE scores achieved by all the applicants on the Alaska exam, and 3) that applicant’s "converted" essay score is then combined with his or her MBE scaled score. This final step in combining is a simple averaging of the two scores.
For example, if your weighted essay score converts to an essay score of 142 and your MBE scaled score is a 156, your "combined" score is the sum of those two scores (298) divided by 2, or 149. As you can see, the converted essay and the MBE scaled score are weighted equally in the final step of the combining procedure.
Reread Policy - The Board of Governors provides for a review of the essay scores of those applicants receiving a score one point below the passing 140.00 (i.e., between 139.00 and 139.99). Therefore, once an initial pass/fail determination is made, but prior to the release of the final results, the Law Examiners Committee will reread the essays of those applicants identified by the Executive Director as scoring within that one point range. The score of each applicant whose essays are reread will be recalculated and any applicant scoring 140.00 or above as a result of the reread will be included in the final pass/fail determination certified to the Board by the Committee.
Anonymity - Throughout the grading process, examination books and answer sheets are designated only by code number and the identity of the applicant is unknown to the graders. Consequently, only the answers to the questions on the examination have any bearing upon an applicant’s success or failure on the exam.
Announcement of Exam Results - Results of the examination are generally announced by the Board of Governors approximately 90 days after the examination. The results are certified to the Supreme Court together with the recommendation of the Board with respect to passing and failing applicants. Each applicant is notified of the Board’s determination.
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Requirements for Admission to Practice - Alaska Bar Rule 5(a) sets forth the requirements for admission. The Rule requires that an applicant must:
- Have passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) with a scaled score of 80 or higher;
The MPRE is administered separately three times a year (March, August, November) by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). The MPRE may be taken at any time by an applicant to the Alaska Bar (e.g., while still in law school, before the bar exam or after the bar exam).
- Attend a course on attorney ethics as prescribed by the Board. Applicants will be notified when group viewings of the mandatory ethics course DVD are scheduled at the Bar office in Anchorage. Contact the Bar office if you cannot attend a group viewing.
- File an affidavit of review with the Alaska Bar Association that he or she has read and is familiar with the Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct (ARPC) in accordance with Alaska Bar Rule 64;
- Be found by the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar to meet the standard of character and fitness as required by Alaska Bar Rule 2(1)(d);
- Pay pro-rated active membership fees for that portion of the calendar year remaining at time of admission;
- Complete the registration paperwork; and
- Swear to the Oath of Attorney prescribed in Section 3 of Alaska Bar Rule 5.
Once eligible for admission, an attorney applicant must be sworn in within sixty (60) days or be deemed to have abandoned his or her application.
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Fingerprinting and Photographs
Flyers for fingerprinting and photo services in the Anchorage area are included in the application packet. This is informational only and applicants are not required to go through these organizations.
An applicant must seek admission within 60 days of becoming eligible for admission. That means, upon completion of all the admissions requirements as listed in Bar Rule 5, that an applicant must seek admission within 60 days of the date on which he or she became eligible or be deemed to have withdrawn his or her application. Swearing-in ceremonies are held 2-3 weeks after exam results are released.
Alaska has an admission without examination rule, with reciprocity provisions, for attorney applicants. Please see the Reciprocal Jurisdictions page for a list of states which have reciprocity with Alaska. Passage of the MPRE is a requirement for admission under reciprocity.
Notice of Address Change
You must notify the Alaska Bar Association immediately of any changes in your mail or email address of record.
Who to Contact for Information
Please do not hesitate to contact the Alaska Bar if you need help or if there is a subject which as not been addressed to your satisfaction in these instructions.
P.O. Box 100279
Anchorage, AK 99510-0279
840 K Street, Suite 100
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 272-7469
Fax: (907) 272-2932
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Updated: February 22, 2013