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Everything You Need to Know About the Oregon Bar Exam

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So you have completed your law school education and now you are ready to take your final steps towards becoming an Oregon lawyer. However, now you have to face the daunting task of taking the Oregon Bar Exam. With an overall passing rate of 75% you have a good chance of passing this professional obstacle if you prepare for it. There are many things you will need to know before you sit for the Oregon Bar Exam including: application procedures, testing format, and what will be covered on the exam. This article will provide you with this information and hopefully arm you with the knowledge needed to prepare for the great challenge of sitting for the Oregon Bar Exam.

Application Procedure

State Board of Examiners
5200 South West Meadow Road
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035-0889
(503) 620-0222

To sit for the Oregon Bar you need to (1) have graduated with a Juris Doctorate from an American Bar Association approved law school, (2) you must take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam and pass with a score of at least 85, and (3) you must be approved by the majority of the Board of Bar Examiners in order to be approved to sit for the Oregon Bar Exam. To be approved by the Board of Bar Examiners you need to be qualified, be of good moral character, and have the skills and disposition to be a lawyer in the state of Oregon. Oregon currently doesn’t have a reciprocity agreement with any other states so if you want to practice law in Oregon you have to sit for the Oregon Bar Exam, and meet all of their requirements.

To download or request a complete application packet with testing information, requirements, and general information you will need to visit the Oregon State Bar website at the address listed above. The cost of the application package is $25 and is a nonrefundable fee that you are required to pay. After you receive your packet you will need to fill out all of the forms and submit them by the stated deadlines, and you will need to enclose the appropriate application, examination, and late fees. These fees change annually, however, to give you an idea of the costs to expect the 2006 fees were $525 for the general applicants, $225 investigation fee for first time attorney applicants, $175 investigation fee for attorney applicants who are re-testing, and $200 late fees (if applicable).

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Testing Format

The Oregon Bar Exam lasts two days, and it is given twice a year. Once in late February, and once in late January.

On day one you will have nine essay questions to answer, as well as one Multistate Performance Test question. The essay portion of the exam will be broken up into three sessions each lasting one-hour and forty-five minuets. This will give you about 35 minutes to answer each essay questions. Each essay question will address several major legal topics and subtopics, and you should base your answers on familiar legal principles that are commonly found throughout the United States. The MPT question will test your ability to do “lawyer work.” It will analyze your ability to organize case information, apply appropriate statutes and procedures, and it will test your ability to produce a useable legal document. Your essay questions will be worth 37.5% of your total score, and your MPT will make up 12.5% or your total score.

On the second day of the Oregon Bar Exam you will take the Multistate Bar Exam which is made up of 200 multiple choice questions and counts for 50% of your total score.

Study Tips

Studying for the Oregon Bar will be quite an undertaking. You will need to devote several months to studying procedures, laws, and information that you learned during your three years of law school. To help direct your studying it is highly recommended that you enroll in a Bar Exam Review course. Law schools and self-study institutes provide these courses. For a list of quality Bar Exam Review course please check out the Oregon Bar Association’s website at: www.osbar.org/admissions/barexam.html

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In addition to enrolling in a Bar Exam Review course, you should also learn what will be on the examination and where you can go for study guides.

Topics That Will Be Covered on the Oregon Bar Exam

The following topics will be covered in the Oregon Bar Exam. You will need to know federal and Oregon specific rules, regulations, general applications, and procedures that apply to these topics.

1. The first topic that you will need to study is civil litigation. This includes Oregon’s civil procedures, federal civil procedures, and Oregon’s rules of evidence.

2. You will also need to study things that are related to commercial transactions including the Universal Commercial Code Articles I, II, and IX, common law contracts, agencies, and Oregon commercial rules and regulations.

3. Property issues will also be focused on in the Oregon Bar Exam. You will need to study taxation of real property, trusts, decedent’s estates, and wills.

4. Public law is another main category that will be examined in the Oregon Bar Exam. You will need to study criminal law and procedures, federal and Oregon administrative laws and procedures, constitutional laws and how they are applied to Oregon laws and federal laws, and federal income taxation issues.

5. Business organizations will also be addressed. You will need to understand legal organizations of businesses such as partnerships, LLC, incorporation, and the rules and regulations that are applicable to these organizations.

6. You will also need to study torts.

7. The final areas that will need to be studies are the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct.

Helpful Hints

1. Familiarize yourself with common legal practices and principles.
2. Know the statutes of fraud.
3. Know the statutes of limitation.
4. Be familiar with all aspects of the U.S. Constitution and its applications.
5. Know the common law principles, statutes, rules and regulations that are applicable to: the UCC, federal income taxation, civil procedures, evidence, administrative law and procedures, business organizations, and legal ethics.
6. Know the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedures and how to apply them to legal situations.
7. Know the Oregon Rules of Evidence and how to apply them to legal situations.
8. Know Oregon’s administrative laws and procedures, and how they are applied to legal situations.
9. Know the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct and they are applied to legal situations.
10. When drafting your essay questions keep answers under three pages, read each questions carefully, organize your information before writing the essay, identify specific laws and procedures that you are using to answer the question, show your thought process for solving the problem, and come to some logical conclusion.
11. You will need to address every point brought up in each essay question even if the point seems moot. These questions are designed to examine the extent of your legal knowledge, so being able to identify moot points is something that you want to demonstrate that you are able to do.

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Study Resources

To help you study, the following websites provide official rules of legal procedures for the state of Oregon and for federal procedures.

For past Oregon Bar Exam questions, application forms and general information go to:

For Oregon Rules of Civil Procedures go to:

For Federal Rules of Civil Procedures go to:

For Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct go to:

Oregon Administrative Laws and Procedures go to:

For Oregon Rules of Evidence go to:

For Federal Rules of Evidence go to: