The Supreme Court adopted new Rules for Admission to the Bar of Montana, as well as amendments to the Board of Bar Examiners' Rules and Rules of Procedure of the Character & Fitness Commission, effective January 1, 2016. The Rules implemented significant changes to Admission to the Montana Bar. The following information is a brief summary of the process for admission to the State Bar of Montana and any variation in the information will defer to the Rules.
Eligibility for Admission:
To be eligible for admission, you must:
1. Have earned a JD from an ABA accredited law school;
Whether applying for admission by exam, transfer of UBE score, or seeking admission on motion, all applicants must complete the online NCBE Application for Montana. A signed original application must be mailed to the Montana Bar Admissions office, with the Montana Application Cover Page, all documents required on the Montana Application Checklist and the Montana application fee. A second signed original application must be mailed to the NCBE with their investigation fee.
2. Have been certified by the Commission on Character & Fitness;
3. Have submitted a qualifying MPRE score;
4. Have submitted a qualifying UBE score (whether by exam or transfer) or have fulfilled the requirements to qualify for admission on motion;
5. Have attended the Montana Law Seminar;
6. Have paid your license tax and dues to the State Bar of Montana.
Application for Admission:
You are required to have an email address as email will be our primary communication method with you. The Guide to Montana Bar Admissions provides detailed information about applying for admission with links to forms, instructions and the application.
Upcoming Dates for Uniform Bar Exam & Montana Law Seminar:
- February 2016 - Exam: 23-24, MLS: February 25th, Great Northern Hotel, Helena. Application Deadline: Postmarked by October 1, 2015
- July 2016 - Exam: July 26-27, MLS: July 28th, University Center, UM Campus, Missoula; Application Deadline: Postmarked by March 15, 2016
Fees, Deadlines & Bar Exam Information:
Applications for examination must be postmarked or hand-delivered to the Bar Admissions Administrator on or before the stated deadline. For exam applicants, the deadline for the February administration is October 1st and the deadline for the July administration is March 15th. Late applications will not be accepted without a Court Order approving late filing. If the Montana Supreme Court grants a petition for late application, a late filing fee will be charged in addition to the application fee.
UBE-transfer applicants and applicants seeking admission on motion may submit an application at any time, but must submit the application no less than 30 days prior to attendance at the Montana Law Seminar. Attendance at the MLS does not qualify an applicant for admission however, and all eligibility requirements must be fulfilled before admission will be granted. (The character and fitness investigation typically takes no less than 90 days after submission of an application.) Concurrent applications will be accepted, but the applicant must attend the next scheduled Montana Law Seminar and a UBE score of 270 must be certified by the NCBE before an applicant is eligible for admission.
To pay application fees, send a check or money order with the completed application or pay application fees online and mail a copy of the confirmation of payment with your completed application. NOTE: A separate application fee is charged for the NCBE Character & Fitness Application. The NCBE Application (page i.) includes categories for Law Student Registration and Foreign Educated or Foreign-Licensed Attorneys. Montana does not at this time accept early applications for law students or recognize foreign applicants. All applicants are required to hold a JD from an ABA accredited school.
The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE):
Montana will accept the transfer of a score of 270 or greater from a qualified UBE exam within three years of the date of application. All UBE applicants are required to complete the application process outlined above through the NCBE and meet the requirements set forth in the Rules for Admission to the State Bar of Montana. Follow this link for more information about the Uniform Bar Exam.
The Montana Law Seminar (MLS):
All applicants, whether by transferred UBE score or by examination, must register and attend the Montana Law Seminar (MLS), which is offered the Thursday following the February and July bar exam. The Montana Law Seminar is a Supreme Court-required course that will focus on the structure of the legal system in Montana, the unique aspects of Montana law and the accepted mores and culture of practicing law in Montana. The Seminar is directed specifically to those seeking admission to the Bar, and only those who are applying for admission to the State Bar of Montana are eligible to attend. The MLS is not a CLE program, nor will CLE credits be awarded. An applicant may delay attendance at the MLS, but may not be admitted to the Montana Bar until attendance at the Seminar has been confirmed. Dress is casual. Attendance at the MLS is a prerequisite to admission.
Register and pay for the UBE and MLS:
Registration for the Montana Law Seminar and/or the Uniform Bar Exam is open only to applicants to the Montana State Bar. These fees are not refundable and applicants may wait until they have been certified by the Commission on Character & Fitness before submitting the fee. Please register and pay online or send a check or money order to Montana Bar Admissions at PO Box 577, Helena, MT 59624.
Defer to the next scheduled admission cycle:
An applicant’s failure to appear for examination or the Montana Law Seminar without first requesting a deferral in writing will result in the application being dismissed. After three deferrals, an applicant is required to submit a new application and pay the application filing fee. To defer to the next exam, send the completed Addendum/Deferral form to the Bar Admissions Administrator with a check or you may pay the $20 fee online.
Admission on Motion:
The Montana Supreme Court adopted admission on motion rules, effective January 1, 2016.
Applicants for Admission on Motion must comply with the requirements set forth in Rules For Admission to The Bar of Montana and submit the documents outlined on the Montana Application Checklist. Upon completion of the eligibility requirements, letters confirming the applicant is certified for admission will be sent to both the applicant and the Court. A copy of the certification letter must accompany an original and 7 copies of your Motion to the Court. The motion and the swearing-in process are under the authority of the Supreme Court and questions should be directed to the Office of the Montana Clerk of the Supreme Court.
Requests for Testing Accommodation:
If you have a medical, physical, or cognitive disability, you may request that the bar examination be administered under reasonable conditions to accommodate your needs. You must make your request by submitting the Request for Testing Accommodation forms. An applicant who claims a disability and who seeks an accommodation on the bar examination must submit a request for the accommodation with supporting documentation by the application deadline. Applications for accommodations not submitted by the application deadline will not be considered, except where the disability occurs after the application filing deadline.
Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) Scores:
It is the applicant's responsibility to have UBE scores from another jurisdiction certified to the State Bar of Montana. ALL applicants are required to sit for the Uniform Bar Exam (the MEE, MPT and MBE) or meet the requirements to transfer a UBE score. To have your UBE score certified to Montana, contact the National Conference of Bar Examiners
Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) Scores:
Montana no longer accepts transferred MBE scores and all examinees must sit for the MEE, MPT and MBE in a single exam cycle to earn a UBE score.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) Scores:
A MPRE score of 80 or better earned within 3 years is not required prior to sitting for the UBE, but is required prior to admission to the Montana Bar. Montana does not give the MPRE, but information about registration and testing locations for the MPRE is available on the NCBE's website. It is the applicant's responsibility to have MPRE scores certified to the State Bar of Montana. Contact the NCBE to request your certified score be provided to Montana. A qualifying score must be certified to the Bar Admissions Administrator no later than nine (9) months after notification of successful completion of the Montana Bar Examination.
Certified Application Requests:
To request that a copy of your Application to Montana be provided to another jurisdiction, please complete this request form or send a written request and a $15 check to Bar Admissions Administrator, State Bar of Montana, P.O. Box 577, Helena, MT 59624. Note: Application files are maintained for five years, after which, if no litigation is pending concerning the application, the file may be destroyed.
Bar Review Course:
The Montana Board of Bar Examiners is not affiliated with any bar review course. The National Conference of Bar Examiners is responsible for development of the MEE, MPT and MBE, and we encourage applicants to review the NCBE website for study materials as well as mock exams and other exam preparation. Consult the Board of Bar Examiners' rules and review the information provided by the Bar Admissions Administrator and the National Conference of Bar Examiners.