Bar Application

National Conference of Bar Examiners

Once you have determined in which jurisdiction you are to be licensed for law practice, please visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners website for a summary of bar admission information specific to that jurisdiction and contact information for its bar admission agency.

The process for bar applications varies from to state and changes over time.  Therefore, for questions about how to complete a bar application, we recommend that you contact the board of law examiners in your specific jurisdiction for guidance.  They will have the most current and accurate information about your bar application.

NY Bar Certificate of Attendance

Most jurisdictions simply require that applicants provide an official transcript to document their academic record.  However, the New York Board of Law Examiners requires that the Law School additionally certify that the applicant is in compliance with the educational eligibility requirements to sit for the New York bar and has completed their degree requirements via a Certificate of Attendance.  For information about the New York Bar process, please click the button below.

New York Bar

Transcript Requests

Transcripts are issued only by the University, not by the Law School.  Therefore, all transcript requests must be submitted to the Office of the University Registrar, which is located near East Campus. The Law School Registrar’s Office cannot process transcript requests.

Currently enrolled students, and students who were enrolled within the past academic year, should use ACES to submit transcript requests.  All other previously enrolled students must follow the instructions provided on the University Registrar’s Transcripts & Verifications page. 

Please be mindful about what information your jurisdiction requires on the transcript.  If the final set of grades must be posted and/or if your transcript must indicate that your degree has been conferred, please note that 1) the faculty have until June 1 to submit spring semester grades, and 2) the processing, recording and posting of grades and degree to the transcript takes several days after the June 1 faculty deadline.  The Registrar’s Office always notifies current and graduating students via email when grades have been posted.  ACES and the University Registrar permit you to indicate that your transcript request should be processed only after the posting of grades and/or degree.  Be sure to check the appropriate boxes on your transcript request form. 

NY Bar applicants, due to the Certificate of Attendance requirement, should click the button in the above section for instructions on how and when to submit your transcript requests.

Character and Fitness

Each jurisdiction will conduct a character and fitness investigation (background check) on all bar applicants, which includes a form to be completed by the Law School.  In some states, the character and fitness investigation takes place during the application process.  Other states will conduct the investigation after applicants sit for and pass the bar examination.  In all cases, bar applications should submit their character and fitness forms to the Law School Registrar’s Office, attn: Meredith Chilausky, as follows:

  • Hard copy forms – bring to the Registrar’s Office, Room 2027
  • Faxed forms – send to the Registrar’s Office at 919-613-7285
  • Electronic copy forms – send to Registrar_Office@law.duke.edu

The Registrar’s Office works with the Office of Student Affairs to process character and fitness forms with attention to the jurisdiction’s deadline for submitting the form.  Please indicate or highlight on the form what your jurisdiction’s deadline is. 

Applicants who submit their character and fitness forms close to the deadline must keep in mind that the Registrar’s Office and Student Affairs could be processing a high volume of forms from current student and recent graduate bar applicants at any given time, and will do their best to meet a close deadline within reason. 

Questions that appear on character and fitness forms typically address the conduct and integrity of the applicant. Additionally, bar examiners often investigate whether any disclosures made to the bar were also made during the law school admission process.  Here are questions from a few representative jurisdictions:

California

  • Do the records in your office reflect that that applicant has been arrested or otherwise charged formally or informally with a violation of the law?
  • Do you have any reason to question the applicant’s moral character?
  • Did the applicant amend his or her application to your law school after it was submitted?  If so, please provide a copy of the application, amendment and your institution’s response.

North Carolina

  • Is the applicant honest?
  • Is the applicant thorough in fulfilling obligations?
  • Do you recommend this applicant for a position of trust and confidence?

Texas

  • Is this person in default of any financial obligation to the law school?
  • While engaging in law school activities including, without limitation, clinical courses and student bar association activities, did this person breach any professional or fiduciary obligation or any duty of trust?

If you have questions about information to be disclosed on your character and fitness form, please contact Student Affairs, Assistant Dean Lewis Hutchison or Associate Dean Bill Hoye.

Fingerprinting and Notaries

Some jurisdictions require, as part of the character and fitness investigation, that applicants be fingerprinted by a law enforcement agency.  Duke Police will do fingerprinting for free, by appointment only.  Applicants may call Lila Edwards at 919-684-4602 to set an appointment.  Duke Police also has notaries on staff.  They are located on Central Campus at 502 Oregon Street.

There are several notaries at the Law School as well.  Those individuals are listed below.  Please contact them directly to request notary services. 

Bar Review Courses – Fee Reductions

Duke Law School is excited to announce that Kaplan Bar Review and BARBRI have agreed to provide fee reductions to certain qualified Duke Law students for their respective summer 2016 bar review courses.  This opportunity is made possible through the Office of the Dean’s waiver of the Law School’s customary room rental fees charged to corporate users of Law School facilities. 

Eligibility for Fee Reductions