Where to Study – Spring 2014

As classes wind down and reading period begins, I thought you might appreciate a list of tried and true study spots on and around the BU Law campus.  Whether you prefer perfect silence or crave noise and access to a constant caffeine drip, you’ll find some great options on the list below:

In the Law Tower

Study Lounge Spaces

  • 1st Floor Café: The First Floor Café is great for meeting up with people or having a snack while you study.  The Café is open 8-3, Mon-Thurs, and 8-2, Friday.
  • 12th Floor Rome Lounge : Enjoy a good view of Boston while you study in the Rome Lounge.
  • 17th Floor South Student Lounge (Comm Ave side): Great lounge to study with comfortable seating, work stations, and a vending machine.

Student Quiet Study Spaces

  • 17th Floor Cubicle Areas (East/West sides): Individual cubicles for those who need a place to hide away for a study session.

Library Study Spaces

  • Pappas Main Library (2nd Floor): The Library is the classic law school study place.
  • 3rd Floor Study Rooms (370 – Study Room, 320 – MyPrint/Study Room): A nice alternative to the library, the third floor study rooms provide a quiet place to study without the library feel.
  • Annex Reading Room:  The Annex to the BU Law Library is below Mugar Library, across from the law tower. Some people may confuse it with a fall-out shelter.

Library Quiet Areas

  • Rm. 371 Quiet Study Room: Grab a seat in this room reserved for quiet studying.
  • Southeast Alcove of Pappas Reading Room: This is a great spot for those who desire silence when cramming for an exam.
  • Empty Classrooms: When all else fails, just pick any random room.  Come visit us in Student Affairs if you want to check on how long that classroom may be free.

Other spots on campus

  • BU School of Management, Pardee Library (595 Commonwealth Ave.):  A good way to get away from the BU Law crowd during crunch time.
  • George Sherman Union “GSU” (700 Commonwealth Avenue): BU’s student union is a good spot if you want ambient noise, food, and undergraduates.  Keep in mind that there are lots of nooks and crannies to study in (though none are silent) outside the food court area and even on the second floor (hint – follow signs for the Dean of Students Office).
  • Mugar Library (Adjacent to law tower; 771 Commonwealth Avenue): BU’s undergraduate library is only steps away from the Tower.

Off Campus Ideas

Public Libraries

  • Boston Public Library – Main Branch (700 Boylston Street): Boston’s central library is a gorgeous building adjacent to Copley Square.  Just don’t leave your belongings unattended for a second.
  • Boston Public Library – Allston Branch (300 North Harvard Street): Boston’s Allston branch is conveniently on the 66 bus line. It has lots of sunlight and parking, but may also have lots of kids.
  • Boston Public Library – Brighton Branch (40 Academy Hill Road): Very quiet with parking available.
  • Brookline Public Library – Coolidge Corner Branch (31 Pleasant Street): Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Branch is in a beautiful part of town and is T accessible.

Coffee Shops

  • Blue State Coffee (957 Commonwealth Avenue): This coffee shop is a BU favorite with large tables, an open floor plan and plenty of food options to get you through your study session.
  • Japonaise Bakery & Café (1020 Beacon Street in Brookline): A quiet spot where you can indulge in a variety of French/Japanese pastries. Right off the St. Mary’s T-stop on the C-line.
  • Pavement Coffeehouse  (736 Commonwealth Avenue): This BU hangout has food, plus great tea and coffee to keep the caffeine buzz going.
  • Panera Bread (201 Brookline Avenue, Boston, or 299 Harvard St, Brookline): Free internet, lots of tables and a decent number of plugs, plus a large menu of soups, salads and sandwiches to keep you satisfied.  There’s also a Panera on Comm Ave, but it’s not quite as large.
  • Peet’s Coffee & Tea (285 Harvard Street in Brookline): A little further away from BU, this coffee shop gives you a place to escape. Especially good for weekend studying so you can take a break at the nearby Brookline Booksmith or grab lunch nearby.
  • Starbucks & other coffee shops (Various Locations): Open late, with big tables and comfy chairs, you know what to expect at Starbucks.
  • Trident Booksellers & Café (338 Newbury Street): Open until midnight 7 days a week, this half bookstore and half café is the perfect place for a study session. In addition, free wireless and comfort food options will keep you energized for hours.  Check their schedule of programs to be sure you won’t need to vacate before you’re ready.

So, what did we miss?  Share your favorites that didn’t make the list in the Comments section below!  Also, 3Ls can look for an updated list of study spaces for their summer bar prep.

Boston Strong: A City Reflects One Year after the Marathon Bombing

Many people in and around Boston are using this year’s running of the Boston Marathon to reflect on the Marathon Bombing and the events in its wake.  While there was immeasurable loss when the bombs exploded, the anniversary also calls us to celebrate the many good things that came from a tragic situation.  Here are some of the events and stories you might want to check out:

On campus

(sources and text excerpted from BU Today article)


Monday, April 14

  • Memorial Service for Lu Lingzi.  Marsh Chapel will host a memorial service for Lu Lingzi (GRS’13), one of three people killed in the Marathon bombings.   The memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. at Marsh Chapel, 735 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston.

Tuesday, April 15

  • BU Medical Campus Flash Mob: Healing Boston with Music. Everyone is invited to gather at noon at Talbot Green to perform the Secret Garden song “You Raise Me Up,” made popular by recording star Josh Groban.  The BU Medical Campus Flash Mob, free and open to the public, is at noon on the Medical Campus Talbot Green.  The BU Medical Campus Flash Mob, free and open to the public, is at noon on the Medical Campus Talbot Green.

Monday, April 21

  • Marathon Monday Prayer Service and Brunch.  Marsh Chapel will host a special 30-minute interdenominational prayer service Marathon Monday in remembrance of those lost and injured in last year’s bombings. A complimentary buffet brunch follows on Marsh Plaza and the BU Beach, followed by a trip to Kenmore Square to watch the final mile of the race. (In the event of rain, the brunch will be held in the lower level of Marsh Chapel.)  The Marathon Monday Prayer Service and Brunch begins at 10 a.m. at Marsh Chapel, 735 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, and is free and open to the public.

Off campus

(Some sources and text from BU Today Article)


Tuesday, April 15

  •  “26.2: Beyond the Finish Line” with Tom Ashbrook, John F. Kennedy Library.  Join Tom Ashbrook for a live broadcast at the John F. Kennedy Library  to remember, to reflect, and to look ahead. Tom will be on stage for “26.2: Beyond the Finish Line,” along with special guests Jill Lepore, Jonathan Katz, James Carroll, Eileen McNamara, Kevin Cullen, Regie Gibson, Farah Pandith and more. This free event will also feature live musical tributes from Bill Janovitz, Patty Larkin, Amanda Palmer and more.  Registration is required. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and live broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy Library, Columbia Point, Boston.
  • One Year Later: Remembrance and Hope, Old South Church.  On the first year anniversary of the Marathon tragedies, we gather to honor the memories of those whose lives were taken, recall all brave responders, encourage those still struggling to recover, and bless athletes who will run in 2014. Join for music, prayers, readings, and reflection.  Old South Church will ring our great tower bell on April 15th at 2:52 pm.  Begins at 7 p.m. at Old South Church, 645 Boylston St., Boston. At the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston Streets at the Copley T stop. 

Thursday, April 17

  • Aftermath: Remembering the Boston Marathon Bombings Lecture, Newton Free Library.  Watertown-based photographer Joshua Touster will give an illustrated lecture titled Aftermath: Remembering the Boston Marathon Bombings. Mr. Touster will share his stunning post-Marathon bombing images, and his personal and professional remembrances of the days following the bombings, the capture of the bombing suspect, and Boston and Watertown’s continuing response to the tragedy.  This lecture will be held at the 7 p.m. at the Newton Free Library, 330 Homer Street, Newton.

Saturday, April 19

  •  To Boston with Love Community Day, Museum of Fine Arts.   The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opens its doors for a free day welcoming families from Boston and beyond, as well as runners and spectators from around the world, to enjoy a day of art and fellowship at the Museum.  Visitors can sign and decorate a special panel for the America 4 Boston Prayer Canvas—a national art project offering a way for people to rally together after the Boston Marathon events of 2013—that will be unveiled at the Boston Red Sox game on Sunday, April 20. To Boston with Love Community Day will be held at the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston at 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. By public transportation, take a Green Line E trolley or 39 bus to the Museum of Fine Arts stop or an Orange Line train or bus routes 8, 47, or C2 to the Ruggles stop.
  • Light the Fire of Peace: Interfaith Prayer Vigil, Trinity Church.  Three faith traditions will gather in vigil on the steps of Trinity Church in Copley Square to pray, sing, and light a fire for peace as our city prepares for a Boston Marathon renewed by hope. Hosted by Trinity Church in partnership with Back Bay Clergy, Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, Old South Church, and Temple Israel. Senior Minister Rev. Nancy S. Taylor of Old South Church will speak.   The Interfaith Prayer Vigil will begin at 7 p.m. outside of Trinity Church in Copley Square.

Ongoing Exhibitions

  • Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial, Boston Public Library. Following last year’s Marathon, a makeshift memorial quickly arose in front of Trinity Church in Copley Square. In June 2013, when the memorial was dismantled, thousands of objects were transferred to the Boston City Archives for preservation. A selection of these items is now on display in the monthlong exhibition Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Copley Square, Boston, is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public through May 11. By public transportation, take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Copley Square.
  • To Boston with Love, Museum of Fine Arts.  In the aftermath of the bombings, quilters from every state and all corners of the globe created hand-sewn flags with messages of inspiration and hope.  Now, 1,700 of those flags are on display in the Museum of Fine Arts Shapiro Courtyard through April 30. It coincides with the MFA’s latest exhibition, Quilts and Color: The Pilgrim/Roy Collection.  To Boston with Love is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, through April 30; hours are Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., and Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Admission is free for students with a valid BU ID.  The museum is free to the public on Wednesday evenings and on Saturday, April 19, which has been declared To Boston with Love Community Day. 
  •  Bled for Boston, Boston Center for Adult Education.  As a way of honoring first responders and victims of the tragedy, Boston Center for Adult Education instructor Chris Padgett photographed the many people who got Boston-themed tattoos.  Bled for Boston is on display at the Boston Center for Adult Education, 122 Arlington St., Boston, through April 30. The BCAE is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the exhibition is free and open to the public. 
  • Boston Strong? Art Exhibition, Community Church of Boston.  Three local artists – Darrell Ann Gane-McCalla, Shea Justice, and Jason Pramas – will be holding an art show called Boston Strong?  The purpose of the show is to spark public discussion and debate about the meaning of the popular “Boston Strong” slogan. The artists contend that there is a disparity between media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing victims, many of whom are white and live outside Boston, and media coverage of the victims of ongoing criminal assaults around Boston, many of whom are people of color and live in the city.  On display from Tuesday, April 15 – Tuesday, April 22.  For more information, see the event on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/758486360851055/?ref=3&ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
  • Boston Strong at the USS Constitution Museum.  Show your support for the men and women who responded to the Boston Marathon bombing by writing a “thank you” letter at the USS Constitution Museum throughout the month of April. The Museum will distribute the letters to local area police and medical personnel. The Museum will also be featuring a panel describing the impact of the bombings on USS Constitution and her captain who was at mile 20 when news broke of the attack at the finish line.  You can visit the USS Constitution Museum , Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


  • Dear World.  Photographer Robert  X. Fogarty, captured images of marathon survivors, first responders and supporters at the Boston Marathon finish line. He compiled their photographs and stories into a beautiful project called, “Dear World.”

Diversity News Roundup-BLSA Edition

On April 12th the Black Law Students Association is hosting its Annual Conference and Gala: Lawyers As Leaders. The one-day conference is an opportunity for students, alumni, and local leaders to join in conversation about (in)justice, (in)equality, and (in)equity in our communities and the legal profession. The conference will focus on achieving success and using that success to help eliminate inequality and injustice.

The conference includes 2 morning workshops, a roundtable luncheon discussion on diversity, and a career fair where students can speak to different employers from the private and public sectors. The day ends with an awards gala, featuring keynote speaker Senator William “Mo” Cowan.

This is an amazing opportunity to interact with some of Boston’s most successful leaders in an intimate setting. Come learn keys to success and conquering adversity from prominent members of Boston’s legal community. Attendees include:

  • Derek Davis, Executive Director, Program on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School
  • Winston Henderson, VP & General Counsel, Nano Terra, Inc.
  • Rachel Rollins, General Counsel, Massachusetts Port Authority
  • Abim Thomas, Counsel, Goodwin Procter LLP; Formerly deputy chief legal counsel for Governor Deval Patrick
  • Damian W. Wilmot, Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP
  • Wendell Taylor, Partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
  • Robert Webb, Partner, Nutter McClennen & Fish
  • Christina Miller, Chief of District Courts and Community Prosecutions, Suffolk County DA Office
  • Danilo Avalon, Owner/Partner, Avalon Law Offices, P.C.

Please email Nichole Beiner (nabeiner@bu.edu), BU BLSA Co-President, with questions or for more information.

Updated BLSA Invite for paperlesspost


St. Paddy’s Day in Boston!

St. Paddy’s day is arguably one of the most celebrated days in Boston, and now that you’ve had some time to catch up on your studies over spring break, you deserve to join in on the festivities!

Southie Parade

The South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a Boston tradition, but it does tend to get a little crazy, so stay focused on the Character & Fitness requirements — we don’t want to see any of you on the news  (March 16)

Walk & Learn

Go beyond the green beer and leprechaun costumes and take a stroll down Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail (guided tours on March 15-17)

Festivals & Celebrations

Sing, dance, play and eat at the Canadian American Club of Massachusetts St. Patrick’s Day Weekend of Events  in Watertown (March 14-16) or take a short trip to Canton for the Irish Cultural Centre’s Celebration (March 14-17)

If corned beef and ceildhs aren’t your thing, check out the Boston Irish Film Festival at the Somerville Theater (March 20-23)

Song & Dance

There’s nothing like classic Irish culture to get you in the spirit of the holiday, so head to the Reagle Music Theater in Waltham for their compilation performance A Little Bit of Ireland, or see WGBH’s St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn (both March 15-16)

If you’re looking for something a little less traditional, check out the Dropkick Murphys at the House of Blues (March 13-16) or spend St. Patrick’s Day with Katie McD at the Beehive in the South End (March 17)


Any other fun ideas for St. Paddy’s Day? Add them in the comments!

Are you an Ambulance Chaser? Find out at the BU Law 5K!

It’s that time of year again…time to sign up for the BU Law 5K!!  

This year it will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2014

GO TO http://BULaw5K2014.eventbrite.com TO REGISTER!


1.   REGISTER AS A TEAM.  You can form a team of all BU Law affiliated people ($10 per person – includes current students, faculty and staff) or a non-BU Law affiliated team ($15 per person – includes alums, family and friends).  Teams have 3-5 members, and the top three times count. 

2.  REGISTER AS AN INDIVIDUAL.  So you want to go it alone.  If you’re a student, faculty or staff, it’s only $12.  For alumni, family or friends, it’s $15. 

For those of you who haven’t participated before, check out this video about the race.


The 5K isn’t just for runners…and it isn’t just for law students!! Friends and family of BU Law students, alumni, faculty and staff are welcome to participate or even just cheer you on!!

Here’s the map of the course:

Note: the course is stroller-accessible and this event is family-friendly.

Remember: SIGN UP NOW – space is limited!!   Go to http://BULaw5K2014.eventbrite.com to register!


Can’t wait to see you out there!

Diversity News Roundup February 2014

It has been a great semester of events thus far and March promises to be no different. On March 3 from 6-8pm LALSA will host a Carnaval Celebration in room 1270 with live music and food. OutLaw will have a trans rights focused event on March 20th with a guest speaker from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. The final Legacy Series event of the semester will be on March 27th  co-sponsored with the Jewish Law Students Association to discuss religious freedom in prison. We will also welcome admitted students to campus March 20-22nd for Mosaic Weekend. If you are interested in helping, please contact me.


  • March: This is Women’s History Month. Here is a great list of events to celebrate.
  • March 3: Berklee Middle Eastern Festival: The Music of Armenia. Tickets $8.
  • March 3-4: BU Center for the Study of Europe presents- Woman Up! for a New Progressive Agenda Fifth Transatlantic Dialogue on Gender Issues. Free.
  • March 13: NESL Minority Student Association presents-Cultural Competency in the Workplace panel. Free, RSVP required.
  • March 15-16: The Jewish holiday of Purim is celebrated on this day. Here are some local events and more information on the holiday.
  • March 27: The Asian American Lawyers Association is hosting a panel discussion on Achieving Partnership.


Other Opportunities:

  • LSAC’s Diversity Committee has announced a writing competition. The topic is “Best Practices for Recruitment and Retention of Students of Color and Students from Other Underrepresented Groups in Law Schools.” The winner will receive $5,000 and be published. Deadline is May 1, 2014.

Valentine’s Day Celebrations

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and the people of Boston have created an array of hilarious and fun events to celebrate all the different kinds of love in your life.

Soothe the Soul

Create a handmade heart for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at West Elm’s Craft a Work of Heart .The store will be sending the chain of paper hearts to St. Jude’s little patients, and will also donate $1 for every heart that’s made. (Tuesday, Feb. 11, 6-8pm)

Join the Boston chapter of Hollaback! for their Self-Care HOLLAday Party, including raffles, activities, and pampering! (Friday, Feb. 21, 8-11pm)

Grab Some Friends & Go

Head over to the Old North Church to learn about the History of Chocolate, and equally importantly, to get some free samples. (Thursday, Feb. 13, 7pm)

Dance the night away at I Heart Swing Valentine’s Dance Party! There’s no partner or experience required. (Friday, Feb. 14, 8pm; lesson included with $17 admission)

 Trek a mile in your best briefs to support the Children’s Tumor Foundation at the Cupid Undie Run. (Saturday, Feb. 15, 12pm)



What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Watch the Boston Babydolls’ burlesque tribute to the holiday in their new show Love Actually (not actually). (Friday, Feb. 14, 7pm)

Socialize with other singles at Flirt Fest, Estate’s anti-Valentine’s Day party, or at the Harborside Inn’s Big Valentine’s Day Singles Party. (Both on Friday, Feb. 14, 8:30pm and 8pm respectively; tickets are $20)

Anti-Val’s Day folks can also head over to Howl at the Moon’s Love Sux party, where guests who bring in mutilated pictures of their exes get in for free. (Friday, Feb. 14, doors open at 4pm) 

Keep the Romance Alive

For a free date that’s right in our own backyard, celebrate the holiday a little early at Open Night at the BU Astronomical Observatory. (Wednesday, Feb. 12, 8:30-9:30pm)

Enjoy a romantic concert with the Chamber Orchestra of Boston at their Love Songs and Tangos show at the First Church in Boston, and join the performers in the lobby afterwards to sample tapas and wine. (Friday, Feb. 14, 7:30pm)

In a quirky combo of high and low brow, examine nudity in art at the Museum of Fine Arts with Watson Adventures’ Naked at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt. (Friday, Feb. 14, 6:30pm; tickets are $37.50 – $39.50, which includes museum admission)


Any other fun Valentine’s Day ideas? Post them in the comments!

Diversity News Roundup January 2014

Welcome back! The new year is upon us and another semester filled with great student programming and community events. The first Legacy Series event will be a screening of Young Lakota on February 6th from 1-2pm, room TBD. The screening is co-sponsored by Women’s Law Association, the Native American Law Students Association and Law Students for Reproductive Justice. The Black Law Students Association will be hosting their annual Jazz Soiree on February 12th. Winter Whiteout, sponsored by Outlaw and SGA, will be at Club Cafe this Thursday, January 30th. Make sure to keep checking the Student Life Calendar for updates on events from our office and student organizations.


Fellowships and Clerkship Opportunities

Law School Grades: Some Perspective


Associate Director Jill Collins

Grades came out on Friday, and there was probably a wide variety of reactions.  For some, you breathed a sigh of relief, and for others you might be wondering what you can do differently this semester.  Whether you’re feeling like your hard work paid off or like your hard work didn’t yield the results you hoped for, this post is all about keeping it in perspective.  

For more advice on moving past your 1st semester grades, please join us for the New Outlook program on Friday, January 24, noon-1pm in Room 520.  This program features advice from your professors (via video), tips on improving your performance, and advice from new Assistant Dean for Career Development, Fiona Hornblower, on how grades impact your job search.   

First of all, let me say that grades are important, and I won’t pretend they aren’t. For better or worse, your GPA will be one of the ways people evaluate you.  The problem arises when you let grades define you.  So here are my two keys to keeping grades in perspective – and finding your own success.

1.  Understand that grades are not necessarily a predictor of future success (however defined) – especially first semester grades.  Exam grades tell you who is good at law school exams, which test your ability to spot and analyze issues in a short amount of time and with only what you can memorize or bring into the exam.  However, many legal jobs require just the opposite type of performance – analysis on long-term projects where perseverance and precision are the keys to success.  Guess what else?  You’re still learning how to be a law student!  You’re already much wiser than you were on December 11 before you walked into your first law school exam.  So don’t conclude that all is lost after your first semester. 

2.  Know what you value.  Set your goals accordingly.  Then measure your progress based on YOUR values and goals.  What the heck do I mean by that?  For law students, answering this question often means thinking seriously about why you came to law school.  For some of you, you chose law school because you want to help people.  Maybe helping people means being a good counselor to your clients.  Thus, being a good counselor is one of your goals.  Meeting that goal might involve excelling in clinical work and the client counselling competition.  Where do first semester grades fit in reaching your goal?  They’re important because being knowledgeable is part of being a good counselor, but it’s not the only way you will reach your goal. 

But wait – what if I want to find the job that makes the most money?  Then I need good grades so I can get a job during OCI for a summer associate position at a big firm where they pay a lot so I can get hired right out of law school and make that big starting salary as a first year associate????   Well, that’s one way to make money.  But it’s a little short-sighted.  If you value making money, then your goal really needs to be to become a partner or head up your own firm.  In order to do that, you should be a competent attorney, which requires passing but not necessarily stellar grades.  However, what you need in addition to competence is…the ability to build business!  Bring in clients.  Keep clients. Bring in more clients.  Bring in the money, my friend, and you’ll go home with the money – regardless of your law school GPA.  So if what you value is making money, and your goal is to become partner, then you should be focusing on becoming a good (or at least competent) attorney AND building relationships with everyone – your classmates, practicing attorneys, your parents’ friends, and so on. 

What if I got great grades?  If you got terrific grades, then certain pathways might be easier for you.  But taking the time now to focus on your values and identify goals that really support those values might help you avoid simply falling into something that doesn’t support your values. 

Determining your values and setting your goals will be different for everyone.  This is just one more reason why grades – which necessarily measure everyone by the same yardstick – are only one piece of the puzzle. So, keep those grades in perspective!! 


The Bar Exam and Bar Application—How to Figure It Out!


    As if law school isn’t hard enough, you also have to decide which bar exam to take and which state(s) to apply to for bar admission.  How do you begin the process?  A great starting point is the National Conference of Bar Examiners site.  This lists different multistate bar tests that states may require, and also has links to state bar authorities.  In most states a court sets bar admissions rules, so look for applicable court rules in addition to rules set by boards of bar examiners (the latter typically administer the bar exam). 

The bar application process and bar exam requirements are complicated–every state has its own rules for bar admission and requirements.  One size does not fit all!  And state rules often change.  The big take-away is to check the rules for the states that you are interested in early, and frequently.

 Some basic points to start the process:

  • Bar applications take time to fill out; they require a lot of detailed information: e.g., they may ask you to list every employer you have had, and every address at which you have lived.  You’ll also likely need recommendations to file with your application.  Start early in gathering information!  If the application for the bar you wish to apply to is unavailable, check the state bar examiners’ website to see if they have a prior version of the application to give you some idea what might be involved.  BUT NOTE that applications can change, so don’t rely on prior applications staying the same!!
  • Most states require the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), a day-long multiple choice test. 
  • Most states have a day-long essay test in addition to the MBE.
  • Some states require additional tests, which can make the overall bar exam three days.
  • Most states also require a passing score on yet another multiple choice test, the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). Each state that requires this sets its own passing score.  NOTE that some states, including Massachusetts, require a passing score on the MPRE when you apply for bar admission (which happens during your third year of law school).  For those states, you need to allow enough time to receive the MPRE score, so you will need to take the MPRE during law school.
  • No matter which bar you apply to, both you and the law school must answer questions related to character and fitness.  These can be very detailed.  It is CRUCIAL to be forthcoming and honest in disclosing any issues related to character and fitness. 
  • State bars often have course, credit, and additional requirements related to your  law school study and/or non-law school study requirements.   For example, currently New York requires that applicants perform 50 hours of pro bono services before applying for admission to practice. Applicants seeking admission to practice in New York after January 1, 2015, must demonstrate compliance with this requirement.  Another example is a new Massachusetts bar requirement applicable to all persons newly licensed to practice law in Massachusetts on or after September 1, 2013.  The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court adopted Rule 3:16, which requires completion of a one-day Practicing with Professionalism Course” within 18 months of the date of your admission.  Thus, you may need to take specific courses/credits in law school, or complete outside programs, to meet state bar requirements.  Again, check and re-check the requirements for the states to which you are thinking of applying for bar admission!
  • Increasingly, bar authorities request a copy of your law school application to compare what you disclose to the bar with what you disclosed on your law school application related to disciplinary and criminal matters.  This can hold up your bar application if there is a discrepancy between the two (though note that some states, including Massachusetts, limit what schools can ask a law school applicant to disclose regarding criminal matters).
  • Some states’ rules make it possible for an applicant to take two bar exams during the same time period (e.g., Massachusetts and New York, currently).  Think carefully about whether to do this—it is intense and requires travel in a short time period. 
  • We strongly encourage you to take a commercial bar review course to prepare for the bar exam.  Please see our Law Financial Aid Office (13th floor) to discuss options for financing the bar application, bar exam, and bar review costs.

 What if you don’t know where you will practice?  Should you skip taking the bar exam? 
NO!  Employers  like to see that a candidate plans to take or has taken a bar exam, even if it is not the bar for that employer’s jurisdiction; that communicates a candidate’s commitment to practicing. Even if you aren’t sure you will practice, you don’t know what you will do down the road, so it’s better to be safe than regret later that you didn’t take a bar exam.  **Please consult with one of our CDO counselors, who can help you figure out which bar exam to take based on your plans and interests.**

What if I need disability accommodations for the bar exam and/or MPRE?
-State bar exams:
Every state has its own procedures and strict deadlines for requesting accomodations on the bar exam due to a disability.  Please check the requirements of the states in which you are interested in, and pay close attention to deadlines.  If you received accommodations while in law school, that does not guarantee accommodations on the bar exam!  If the bar requires a form or letter verifying accommodations received in law school, contact the Law Student Affairs’ Office.  (Note that for Massachusetts, BU Disability Services will need to complete part of the form because only that office knows the diagnosis, medical documentation supporting the accommodations, etc.).  

-MPRE:  Click here for accommodation information.

 For more detailed bar application/bar exam information, our office has planned two programs that we hope you’ll attend:

  • Tuesday, January 28, 4 p.m, Law Auditorium: A program on the bar exam, bar application process, character and fitness, and the MPRE.  CDO will discuss how to determine which bar to take when you’re not sure of your job plans; financial aid will discuss financing bar-related expenses.  (Aimed at 1Ls and 2Ls but open to all JDs).
  • Tuesday, February 11, 1-2 pm, Barristers Hall: Representatives from the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners will be here to discuss the Massachusetts bar application and admissions process, and how to handle possible character and fitness disclosure issues.  (Aimed at 3Ls but open to other JDs).

 Also check out bar information on our website.

Feel free to seek out Dean Marx, Jill Collins and Brenda Hernandez with any questions.