Bar Application Materials

The Law Registrar will begin accepting July bar application materials the Monday following Spring Break. Please contact law-registrar@law.northwestern.edu if you have any questions.

Overview of Bar Admission

Admission to the bar is conducted through the Board of Bar Examiners of the state in which you are applying. Because each state determines what criteria it will use to determine an attorney’s eligibility for law practice, it is critical you identify the individual requirements for your state prior to starting the bar admission process.  Links to each state’s bar admissions office are available online through the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) website.  Select a state from the drop-down list found under Jurisdiction Information.

Depending on the jurisdiction, bar application materials may include a Dean’s Certification or Certificate of Graduation (required forms are available directly from your state’s bar examiner).  All forms must be completed by the Office of the Registrar, not the dean of the law school.

How to Submit Materials 

We will accept bar application materials the Monday following Spring Break through the end of May.  

  1. Before filling out your form, be sure to check your conferral date!  Conferral (June) and Convocation (May) are not the same, and you are not considered a graduate until your degree is conferred.  Your degree conferral date is listed on the Academic Calendar.
  2. Completed form(s) may be submitted to the Office of the Registrar via email or drop-off in MC127.  Please include your Student ID number and the State you intend to sit for the bar exam.
  3. All Dean Certification Forms will be completed and sent via FedEx after degree conferral in June.  Once your form has been processed and shipped you will receive a confirmation email and package tracking number.

Early Submission Deadlines

Some states (e.g. New York, Arizona) require submission of bar application forms earlier than the University’s degree conferral date.  We have communicated with these states’ examiners about our conferral date, and they are aware we will send students’ forms immediately following degree conferral.

Do not worry about your eligibility to sit for the Bar Examination if your state is an “early submission deadline” state.  Please follow the instructions above for submitting your forms to ensure timely processing and mailing.

Letter Certifying Graduation

If your state requires a letter certifying your graduation upon degree conferral, email a request to the Office of the Registrar to ensure the letter is created and transmitted before the state’s deadline.

Final Official Transcript

If your state requires a final official transcript sent following your degree conferral, it is your responsibility to order a “Hold for Degree” transcript.

Login to CAESAR and navigate to Student Homepage > Academic Records > Request Official Transcript. Provide the appropriate bar examiner’s name and address for delivery. Select the Processing Time “Hold for Degree” and the desired mailing method.

Illinois Bar Applicants

Send a blank form via email and include your Student ID number and degree program (JD, JDMBA, Transfer JD, etc.).

California* and Pennsylvania Bar Applicants

These states do not provide a Dean’s Certification with your application materials.  You will need to complete all application materials requested by the Examiners by the application deadline, but you will not submit any certification paperwork to our office. 

After the application deadline passes, the Examiners provide us a list of students for whom they require degree verification and an official transcript.  We verify degrees awarded as part of our Dean’s Certification process in June.

*California applicants, upon receiving the list, you will be contacted and asked to order a transcript via CAESAR.

New York Bar Applicants

The New York Board of Law Examiners uses an auto-populated certification form that pulls data from your electronic bar application. After you receive this pre-filled form from NYBOLE via email (likely sometime in early May), please review the auto-populated fields for compliance.  Make any necessary edits and submit the completed and signed form for processing per the instructions above.

Character and Fitness

Lastly, should you have any questions about the Character and Fitness portion of your bar exam application, please make an appointment with Dean Susie Spies Roth in Student Services.