Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The following questions are frequently asked about admission to the Bar of Georgia. Each of the questions is linked to the corresponding answer. For complete information, please refer to the Georgia 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.
General Admission Questions
|-||LAPTOP TESTING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS|
Fitness Application/Certification of Fitness
|-||WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN THE 2-DAY EXAM AND THE 1-DAY EXAM?|
|-||I WAS JUST ADMITTED TO ANOTHER JURISDICTION. CAN I CONVERT FROM THE TWO-DAY TO THE ONE-DAY EXAM?|
|-||WHAT IF MY LAW SCHOOL CAN’T GET MY TRANSCRIPT HERE BY THE DEADLINE?|
|-||CAN I PICK UP MY TRANSCRIPT AT MY SCHOOL AND BRING IT TO YOU?|
|-||HOW DO I DETERMINE IF I AM ELIGIBLE FOR ADMISSION ON MOTION WITHOUT EXAMINATION?|
|-||HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT EDUCATIONAL WAIVERS?|
General Admission Questions
WHO GOVERNS ADMISSION TO THE BAR IN GEORGIA?
The Constitution of the State of Georgia grants jurisdiction to the Supreme Court of Georgia to control admission to the bar. A set of Rules promulgated by the Supreme Court governs bar admission policies and procedures. The Rules are administered by two separate and distinct boards. The Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants inquires into the character and fitness of all applicants, and the Board of Bar Examiners deals with questions of the applicant's competence. Both Boards must certify the applicant to the Court for the applicant to be eligible for admission. The staff of the Office of Bar Admissions reports to both Boards.Back to TOP
WHO IS ON THE TWO BOARDS?
The Supreme Court of Georgia appoints all the members of both Boards. The Fitness Board has nine members, six lawyers and three public members. The Board of Bar Examiners has six members, all of whom are lawyers. The men and women on the Boards come from all areas of the state, and the lawyer members represent different types of practices.Back to TOP
WHO WILL BE RECOMMENDED FOR ADMISSION TO THE BAR?
The Boards will recommend the admission of those applicants who meet the good character and fitness standards and pass the bar examination, including the separate examination on professional responsibility. The bar examination is a written test, containing essay, performance and multiple choice questions, administered and graded by the Board of Bar Examiners and its agents two times a year (in February and July).Back to TOP
WHAT DO THE GOOD CHARACTER AND FITNESS STANDARDS REQUIRE?
The good character and fitness standards require that an applicant to the bar be one whose record of conduct justifies the trust of clients, adversaries, courts and others. The hallmark of such a person is honesty, especially in connection with the application for admission to the bar. Persons with a record showing a deficiency in honesty, trustworthiness, diligence, or reliability might not be recommended for admission.Back to TOP
WHAT KINDS OF CONDUCT MIGHT SHOW A DEFICIENCY IN THE NECESSARY QUALITIES OF HONESTY, TRUST-WORTHINESS, DILIGENCE, OR RELIABILITY?
Any of the following will be considered by the Fitness Board to be a basis for further inquiry before recommending admission:
- unlawful conduct
- academic misconduct
- making of false statement, including omission of relevant facts
- misconduct in employment
- acts involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation
- abuse of legal process
- neglect of financial responsibilities, especially failure to repay student loans
- neglect of professional obligations
- violation of an order of a court, especially failure to pay child support
- evidence of mental or emotional instability
- evidence of drug or alcohol dependency
- denial of admission to the bar in another jurisdiction on character and fitness grounds
- disciplinary action by a lawyer disciplinary agency or other professional disciplinary agency of any jurisdiction
HOW DOES THE BOARD CONDUCT FURTHER INQUIRY, WHEN THAT IS NECESSARY?
The applicant may be asked to provide facts and explanation, in addition to the questions on the fitness application. In order to verify the accuracy of the information provided in the application, or to obtain additional information, the Board will contact the applicant's references, the applicant's employers, colleges and law schools, courts, medical providers, police agencies, and credit agencies.Back to TOP
HOW DOES THE BOARD DETERMINE THE APPROPRIATE WEIGHT AND SIGNIFICANCE TO BE GIVEN THE PRIOR CONDUCT?
The Board will use the following factors in assigning weight and significance to prior conduct:
- the applicant's age at the time of the conduct
- the recency of the conduct
- the reliability of the information concerning the conduct
- the seriousness of the conduct
- the factors underlying the conduct
- the cumulative effect of conduct or information
- the evidence of rehabilitation
- the applicant's positive social contributions since the conduct
- the applicant's candor in the admissions process
- the materiality of any omissions or misrepresentations
WHAT CAN I DO IF MY RECORD INCLUDES PROBLEMS OR EVENTS WHICH MIGHT CAUSE THE BOARD TO INQUIRE FURTHER?
As an applicant, you are obligated to cooperate fully with the Fitness Board's investigation, providing prompt and complete responses to all questions and requests for records or explanation. If you have had a problem in the past, you may wish to offer the Board additional evidence of rehabilitation. It is suggested that you review the "weight and significance factors" listed in response to Question 7 in considering what additional evidence you might offer. Absolute candor in completing the application and responding to the Board's inquiries is critically important.Back to TOP
WHY IS EVIDENCE OF REHABILITATION SO IMPORTANT?
Evidence of rehabilitation is the most critical factor the Board uses to determine whether past problems should lead to denial of admission. The Board's standard for admission is current good character and fitness. Generally, the Board will assess whether the problems of the past continue and, if they do not, whether the applicant's life has changed in ways that suggest they are unlikely to recur. If you have a concern in this area, you should consult In Re:Cason, 249 Ga 806 (1982) for guidance.Back to TOP
WHAT KIND OF INQUIRY WILL BE CONDUCTED IF I HAVE HAD A HISTORY OF DRUG OR ALCOHOL ABUSE OR ADDICTION, OR TREATMENT FOR EITHER?
Because evidence of drug or alcohol dependence or abuse is one of the "relevant conduct" factors about which the Board must inquire, you should be prepared to provide treatment records, as well as other records of incidents which were associated with the addictive behavior.Back to TOP
IF I SEEK ALCOHOL OR DRUG TREATMENT DURING LAW SCHOOL, WON'T IT DELAY MY ADMISSION?
If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, you are strongly encouraged to get the counseling or treatment you need as soon as possible. Your recognition of the problem and your treatment record will be the best evidence you have of rehabilitation, regardless of the seriousness of any misconduct which may have arisen from the chemical dependency.Back to TOP
WHAT KIND OF INQUIRY WILL BE CONDUCTED IF MY RECORD INCLUDES A HISTORY OF PSYCHIATRIC OR PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING?
The purpose of the Board's inquiries is to determine the current fitness of an applicant to practice law. This information along with all other information is treated confidentially by the Office of Bar Admissions. The mere fact of treatment for mental health problems or addictions is not in itself a basis on which an applicant will be denied admission. To date, the Board has never denied an applicant admission based solely on this information. Further, the Board has routinely certified individuals for admission who have demonstrated personal responsibility and maturity in dealing with mental health and addiction issues. The Board encourages applicants who may benefit from treatment to seek it.Back to TOP
ONCE I DISCLOSE MY CONFIDENTIAL MEDICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, OR CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY TREATMENT RECORDS TO THE BOARD, WILL THE BOARD KEEP THOSE RECORDS CONFIDENTIAL?
The Board is required to hold in the strictest confidence all records received in the admission process. Part F, Section 4(b) of the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law in Georgia specifically addresses this issue.Back to TOP
WHY DOES THE BOARD INQUIRE ABOUT MISDEMEANOR OR FELONY ARRESTS WHICH DID NOT RESULT IN CONVICTIONS?
There are many reasons why arrests do not result in convictions, and many of them have no bearing on guilt or innocence. The Board is required to inquire into all areas of possibly relevant applicant misconduct. The applicant is required to report all incidents, and to provide evidence of rehabilitation and evidence of current good character. Obtaining an acquittal or dismissal is relevant, but not dispositive of the issue. This is not to suggest that the Board will assume that any arrest was due to guilty conduct on the part of the applicant. The applicant's obligation is to be completely forthright regarding all matters about which the Board inquires.Back to TOP
WHY ARE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS, SUCH AS PAST DUE DEBTS OR AN OLD BANKRUPTCY, RELEVANT TO MY ADMISSION?
The Fitness Board recognizes that law students sometimes have financial problems associated with the expense of law school, or with ongoing family obligations. The Board also recognizes that mishandling of client funds is a frequent and serious cause for professional discipline. Admission to the bar does not require a perfect credit record. The Board is interested in whether applicants have dealt honestly and responsibly with their creditors, and whether they are doing so at the time of application. Responsible dealings generally include but are not limited to keeping in contact with the creditor, making payment arrangements, and meeting the terms of those arrangements. Defaulted student loans and failure to make child support payments are of particular concern to the Board and may well lead to denial of admission if not resolved at the time of application or soon thereafter.Back to TOP
WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON REASON FOR DENIAL OF A BAR APPLICANT?
A pattern of dishonesty in dealings with employers, schools, and authorities, including the Office of Bar Admissions is the most frequent reason for denial of bar applicants. Giving false information on the application or failing to be entirely forthcoming and completely candid in the application process is a serious error which will have negative consequences for an applicant. The failure to be fully responsive to application questions, or any other lack of candor in an application, involves sworn statements made to an agency of the Supreme Court itself; since such dishonesty is both current and ongoing, the applicant to whom it might be charged will have a difficult time showing that rehabilitation--which requires more than contrition--has occurred and will be sustained.Back to TOP
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE A CONCERN ABOUT SOMETHING IN MY RECORD THAT MAY CAUSE A CONCERN?
WHAT ARE THE DEADLINES FOR SUBMITTING MY FITNESS APPLICATION?
You can view the Fitness Application deadlines by accessing the Deadlines & Fees information on our homepage. Click here (https://www.gabaradmissions.org/deadlines-and-fees)Back to TOP
WHAT ARE THE DEADLINES FOR SUBMITTING MY BAR EXAM APPLICATION?
You can view the Bar Examination Application deadlines by accessing the Deadlines & Fees information on our homepage. Click here (https://www.gabaradmissions.org/deadlines-and-fees)Back to TOP
LAPTOP TESTING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
For questions regarding laptop testing, please follow the link below:Back to TOP
Fitness Application/Certification of Fitness
HOW DO I SEND DOCUMENTS TO MY ANALYST?
Once you have submitted your Fitness Application, you will be able to upload documents to your file. See the Upload New Document button at the bottom of your home page. You may also send in hard copies of any pertinent documents.Back to TOP
DO I HAVE TO SEND A CERTIFIED DRIVING RECORD/MOTOR VEHICLE REPORT?
Yes. For each jurisdiction, including, Georgia in which you have held a driver's license during the last 12 months, you must submit a CERTIFIED copy of your official driving record that includes your name and other specific identifying information.Back to TOP
HOW DO I GET MY FINGERPRINTS DONE?
You can view information regarding having your fingerprints submitted by accessing the Fingerprint Requirements information found under the Certification of Fitness tab. Click here (https://www.gabaradmissions.org/fingerprint-requirement)Back to TOP
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO PROCESS MY FITNESS APPLICATION?
Once your file is assigned to an application analyst, it typically takes between 8 to 12 weeks for your Fitness Application to be processed. If there are problem areas in your file, it may take longer.Back to TOP
HOW LONG IS MY CERTIFICATION OF FITNESS VALID?
Once you receive Certification of Fitness, it is valid for 5 years.Back to TOP
WHAT DO I DO IF MY CERTIFICATION OF FITNESS IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE?
You must hold valid Certification of Fitness to take a Bar examination and to get your results. If your Certification of Fitness is close to expiration, contact the Office of Bar Admissions to determine your deadline.Back to TOP
HOW WILL THE OFFICE OF BAR ADMISSIONS COMMUNICATE WITH ME?
The majority of communication from the Office of Bar Admissions to an applicant will be via the applicant’s Home Page. Emails may also be sent. It is your responsibility to check your Home Page frequently. Any written communication that must be mailed will be sent to the address that you have on record under the Personal Information section of your Registration page.Back to TOP
HOW DO I UPDATE MY APPLICATION?
Once you have submitted your Fitness Application, you will be able to amend it and add additional information if the answers to any of your questions have changed. You will access your Fitness Application through your Home Page.Back to TOP
WHAT TYPE OF APPLICATIONS REQUIRE AN UPLOADED PHOTO?
Only bar exam applications require a photo.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR AN UPLOADED PHOTO?
Your photo must meet the following requirements:
Back to TOP
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE TO PASS THE BAR EXAMINATION?
A score of 270 is required to pass the Georgia Bar examination.Back to TOP
WHEN IS THE BAR EXAM?
You can find the schedule for upcoming Bar examinations by accessing the Deadlines & Fees information on our home page and viewing the Bar Exam Application Filing Deadlines. Click here (https://www.gabaradmissions.org/deadlines-and-fees).Back to TOP
WHERE IS THE BAR EXAMINATION HELD?
The Georgia Bar Examination is held at the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) near Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Click here for directions.Back to TOP
WHEN IS THE PASS LIST POSTED?
The pass list is posted on the 4th Friday of May for the February Bar examination and the 4th Friday of October for the July Bar examination. It is posted on our website.Back to TOP
HOW DO I APPLY FOR ADA ACCOMMODATIONS?
You can find information regarding ADA accommodations as well as the application forms in the ADA Testing Accommodation section under the Bar Examination tab on our home page. Click here for more information.Back to TOP
WHAT IF I NEED TO BRING IN A MEDICAL DEVICE OR BREAST PUMP TO THE EXAM?
If you need to bring a medical assistive device or other such item to the exam, you will need to fill out an Administrative Accommodation Request Form. You may find information about Administrative Accommodations under the Bar Examination tab on our home page. Click here for more information.Back to TOP
DO I HAVE TO HAVE PASSED THE MPRE TO TAKE THE BAR EXAM?
No. You may take the Bar examination even if you have not taken the MPRE exam. If you pass the Bar exam, however, you must have taken and passed the MPRE to receive your Certification of Eligibility which allows you to be sworn in to the State Bar of Georgia.Back to TOP
DO YOU ACCEPT TRANSFERRED MBE SCORES?
No. Georgia does not accepted transferred MBE scores. If you are eligible to sit for the one-day Attorneys’ examination, you will be assigned a score of 135 on the MBE portion. A total score of 270 is required to pass.Back to TOP
WILL YOU TRANSFER MY MBE SCORE TO ANOTHER STATE?
Upon request, we will transfer your MBE to another state if you took the MBE in Georgia prior to February 2011. You may access the request form on the Application Forms tab on our home page. Click here to access the request form.
If you took the MBE in Georgia in February 2011 or after, you will need to contact NCBE to request a transfer. Their website is www.ncbex.org
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN THE 2-DAY EXAM AND THE 1-DAY EXAM?
If an applicant is admitted to the bar in another jurisdiction, he or she may be eligible to take the Attorneys’ exam which consists of the 2 MPT and 4 Essay questions. The 1-day exam applicant does not take the MBE.Back to TOP
I WAS JUST ADMITTED TO ANOTHER JURISDICTION. CAN I CONVERT FROM THE TWO-DAY TO THE ONE-DAY EXAM?
If you meet the deadline and are otherwise eligible, you may convert from the two-day to the one-day exam if you become admitted in another jurisdiction. You may access information regarding converting under Bar Examination Information located on the Bar Examination tab. Click here for more information.Back to TOP
WHAT IF MY LAW SCHOOL CAN’T GET MY TRANSCRIPT HERE BY THE DEADLINE?
If your official transcript will not be available by the posted deadline, your school may provide a Dean’s Letter stating that you have been awarded the J.D. degree in lieu of the official transcript. The official transcript, however, must be received in our office in order for you to receive your results from the Bar examination.Back to TOP
CAN I PICK UP MY TRANSCRIPT AT MY SCHOOL AND BRING IT TO YOU?
No. Your official transcript must come directly from the school to our office.Back to TOP
HOW DO I DETERMINE IF I AM ELIGIBLE FOR ADMISSION ON MOTION WITHOUT EXAMINATION?
You may find information regarding eligibility for Admission on Motion without Examination in Part C of the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law. Click here for more information.Back to TOP
HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT EDUCATIONAL WAIVERS?
You can access information about educational waivers under the Policy Statements of the Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants under the Rules & Policies tab on our home page. Click here for more information.Back to TOP