When is the bar exam administered and when are the results released?
The South Carolina Bar Exam is administered twice a year, on the last consecutive Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in February and on the last consecutive Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in July. In 2015, the July Bar will be administered on July 27, 28, and 29.
The filing period for the July Examination was December 1 through January 31. For the February 2016 Examination the filing period will be August 1, 2015 through September 30, 2015. The application fee for the first month of the application period is only 2/3's of the fee for applications filed during the second month.
Results are generally released in late April for the February exam and late October for the July exam. Check the South Carolina Judicial Department website for the latest information on results.
For a number of years, the Bar exam has been administered at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln Street, Columbia, South Carolina, 29201 (http://www.columbiaconventioncenter.com ) That is the scheduled site for the July Bar.
Who wants my fingerprints?
If you are planning to take the Bar Exam in South Carolina, you must have your fingerprints taken. The only approved provider of fingerprinting services for the South Carolina Bar is Morpho Trust Solutions. They will send a representative to campus to take fingerprints. Your application will not be considered late because your fingerprints arrive after the application deadline. More information about how to sign up will be forthcoming.
Who Do I Contact About My Application?
Contact Information for the Office of Bar Admissions
Supreme Court Building
1231 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Excluding state holidays
Office of Bar Admissions
Supreme Court of South Carolina
P.O. Box 11330
Columbia, SC 29211
Phone and Fax:
Voice: (803)734-1080 (phone
calls are accepted only between
9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.)
Download applications for admission to the South Carolina bar from the Office of Bar Admissions
What's New About Bridge the Gap?
The South Carolina Supreme Court has changed the Bridge the Gap program as follows:
- Only second semester 3Ls and graduates are eligible to take the seminar (not 2Ls, as in the past)
- If you graduate from an in-state law school, you must take one of the LIVE Bridge the Gap seminars
- The March seminar will take place on March 10-11 in Columbia, live at the University of South Carolina Law School Auditorium (701 S. Main Street Columbia, SC 29208)
- The August session is still TBD
For the Most Recently Updated Information!
This guide is intended to supplement, not replace, information provided by the Office of Bar Admissions and Rule 402 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules. Please consult those sources for the most authoritative, up-to-date information regarding the Bar Examination and Admission to the South Carolina Bar.
What Are the Qualifications for Admission to the South Carolina Bar?
Qualifications for Admission, Rule 402 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR)
No person shall be admitted to the practice of law in South Carolina unless the person:
(1) is at least twenty-one (21) years of age;
(2) is of good moral character;
(3) has received a JD or LLB degree from a law school which was approved by the Council of Legal Education of the American Bar Association at the time the degree was conferred. An approved law school includes a school that is provisionally approved by the Council. An applicant who has not provided proof of graduation by July 10th for the July Bar Examination or February 10th for the February Bar Examination shall not be allowed to sit for the examination. An applicant, however, who has not graduated may sit for the examination if the law school certifies in writing that the applicant has completed all requirements for graduation by July 10th for the July Bar Examination or February 10th for the February Bar Examination; the applicant must provide proof of graduation by April 1 following the February Bar Examination or October 1 following the July Bar Examination;
(4) has been found qualified by a panel of the Committee on Character and Fitness;
(5) has passed the Bar Examination given by the Board of Law Examiners;
(6) has received a scaled score of at least seventy-seven (77) on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. If the score was obtained prior to the filing of the application, the MPRE must have been taken within four (4) years of the date on which the application is filed. While an application can be filed without proof of completion of this requirement, applicants are warned that failure to timely submit proof of completion of this requirement can significantly delay admission as provided by subsection (k) of this rule;
(7) is not disbarred, suspended from the practice of law, or the subject of any pending disciplinary proceeding in another jurisdiction;
(8) has successfully completed the Bridge the Gap Program sponsored by the South Carolina Bar. While an application can be filed without proof of completion of this requirement, applicants are warned that failure to timely submit proof of completion of this requirement can significantly delay admission as provided by subsection (k) of this rule; and
(9) has paid the fees and taken the oath or affirmation specified by this rule.
How do I file my application to take the South Carolina Bar Exam and what are the deadlines?
Applying to Take the Bar Examination (For most current information, consult SCACR 402)
(1) Filing Application; Fees. Any person desiring to take the Bar Examination shall file an application, in duplicate, with the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The application form shall be approved by the Committee on Character and Fitness. Applications shall be accepted from December 1 to January 31 for the July Examination and from August 1 to September 30 for the February Examination. The non-refundable application fee shall be:
(i) $700 for applications filed from December 1 to January 10 or from August 1 to August 31.
(ii) $1,050 for applications filed during the remainder of the application periods.
If the applicant has been admitted to practice law for more than one (1) year in another state, the District of Columbia, or another country at the time the application is filed, the applicant shall file one (1) additional copy of the application along with an additional fee of $800. A portion of this fee will be used to obtain a character report from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
An application will not be considered filed until both the fully completed application and fee(s) are received by the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The application fee(s) shall be made payable to the Clerk of the Supreme Court of South Carolina, and the application and fee(s) shall be sent to the Clerk, Supreme Court of South Carolina, Post Office Box 11330, Columbia, South Carolina 29211. An applicant who withdraws or fails to sit for an Examination shall not be entitled to a refund of the application fee(s) or to have the application fee(s) credited to a later Examination. An applicant who has failed the Examination must comply with the requirements of section (i) below.
For the purpose of this rule, filing means: (1) delivering the document to the Clerk of the Supreme Court; or (2) depositing the document in the U.S. mail, properly addressed to the Clerk of the Supreme Court, with sufficient first class postage attached. The date of filing shall be the date of delivery or the date of mailing.
Petitions seeking permission to file a late application are strongly discouraged, and only petitions documenting extraordinary circumstances justifying the late filing will be granted. If a petition for late filing is submitted, the petition must comply with the provisions of Rule 240, SCACR, must contain facts showing that extraordinary circumstances exist, and must be accompanied by a fully completed bar application, along with all required original attachments. Under no circumstances will petitions be accepted for filing after March 15 for the July Bar Examination or November 15 for the February Bar Examination. Unless otherwise directed by the Court, the filing fee for a late application will be $1,500, plus an additional $800 fee if the applicant has been admitted to practice law for more than one (1) year in another state, the District of Columbia, or another country at the time the application is filed. The filing fee is non-refundable and may not be credited to a later examination.
(2) Duty to Keep Application Current. Until they have been admitted, applicants are under a continuing obligation to keep their applications current and must update responses whenever there is an addition to or a change to information previously filed with the Clerk. These updates must be made in writing and must include all relevant documentation.
(3) Special Accommodations for Disabled Applicants. An applicant needing special accommodations for the Bar Examination due to a disability shall submit a written request for such accommodations to the Board of Law Examiners. The procedure and forms to be used in making a written request shall be specified in the Rules of the Board of Law Examiners. Unless the chair of the Board determines there is good cause to allow a late request, written requests for special accommodations must be submitted by November 1 for the February Examination and April 1 for the July Examination.
What Are the Consequences of Bringing in Prohibited Items or Removing Testing Materials?
Rule 402(i) SCACR Amended
(9) Prohibited Items at the Bar Examination. An applicant who has an item which is prohibited by the Board of Law Examiners from being on the premises of the examination site or in the examination room during testing may be found guilty of contempt of the Supreme Court of South Carolina regardless of whether the applicant uses the item to cheat or attempt to cheat or aid or assist another applicant in cheating on the Bar Examination and may be punished accordingly. In addition, if it is determined that an applicant had a prohibited item at the examination site or in the examination room during testing regardless of whether the applicant used the item to cheat or attempt to cheat or aid or assist another applicant in cheating on the Bar Examination, the Board may fail the applicant on a section(s) of the examination or the entire examination and the Court may prohibit the applicant from reapplying for up to two years. Further, if the applicant has already been admitted, the Court may vacate the admission or discipline the lawyer under Rule 413, SCACR.
(10) Removal of Testing Materials. An applicant who removes any testing material from the Bar Examination may be found guilty of contempt of the Supreme Court of South Carolina regardless of whether the applicant removes the testing material to cheat or attempt to cheat or aid or assist another applicant in cheating on the Bar Examination and may be punished accordingly. In addition, if it is determined that an applicant removes testing material from the Bar Examination regardless of whether the applicant removes the testing material to cheat or attempt to cheat or aid or assist another applicant in cheating on the Bar Examination, the Board may fail the applicant on a section(s) of the examination or the entire examination and the Court may prohibit the applicant from reapplying for up to two years. Further, if the applicant has already been admitted, the Court may vacate the admission or discipline the lawyer under Rule 413, SCACR.
This LibGuide was originally created by Deborah McGovern
How Do I Pass the South Carolina Bar Examination?
The South Carolina Bar exam is a three-day exam. On days 1 and 2 six subject areas, which vary with each administration, are tested in essay format. These essays are prepared by the South Carolina Board of Bar Examiners. On day 3, the Multistate Bar Examination, 200 multiple-choice questions, is administered. The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination is administered separately.
The MBE counts for one of seven sections of the South Carolina Bar Examination. You need a scaled score of 125 or higher to pass the MBE. Anyone receiving a scaled score of 110 or lower on the MBE fails the entire exam - their essay sections will not be graded.
The South Carolina Essay Questions, prepared by the Board of Bar Examiners, count for six of the seven sections of the South Carolina Bar exam. To pass an essay section, you must receive 70 out of 100 points on that section. You must pass six out of the seven sections of the South Carolina Bar exam to pass the exam as a whole. Thus, you could pass five of the essay sections and the MBE and pass. Or you could pass by getting a score between 110 and 125 on the MBE and passing the six essay sections. You could NOT pass with an MBE score of 110 or below.
To pass the South Carolina Bar Examination, you must pass the MPRE with a scaled score of 77 or better. It is administered separately.