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Passing The Bar: A Must For Every Lawyer In Columbia Sc
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Passing the Bar: A Must for Every Lawyer In Columbia Sc

Regardless of where they attend law school, every practicing lawyer in Columbia SC must have passed the South Carolina Bar Exam. This is a grueling assessment encompassing three days of intense testing, and in recent years the average pass rate has been around 70 to 75 percent. So what exactly does this test include?

The examination takes place two times per year on the last consecutive Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in February and July. The first two days of the exam are set aside for essay questions on points of South Carolina law. Six questions are assigned, and the specific topics are not known in advance. However, applicants are instructed to study the following subjects in preparation: wills, trusts, and estates; trial advocacy; business law; commercial law; civil procedure; domestic relations; insurance; legal writing and research; and equity.

The Multistate Bar Exam comes after the essay portion of the assessment and takes place on Wednesday. This test has 200 multiple choice questions, only 190 of which are graded. Ten extra questions are put in to see if they would work well on future tests, but since no one knows which ones they are, each item on the exam must be answered. Of the 190 questions that will be scored, there will be 33 items each on the subjects of Torts and Contracts, and 31 questions apiece on the following topics: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, and Real Property.

The MBE portion of the test is graded first. If an individual does not score at least 110 points out of 190 on this section, he or she has automatically failed the bar and the essay questions will not be graded. However, a 110 is not a passing score; a 125 is needed to quality as a passing grade on this portion of the bar exam.

Once the MBE is graded and an adequate score received, the essay questions will be evaluated. Each item can be awarded up to 100 points, with a score of 70 qualifying as a passing grade. Each essay question counts as one part of the test and the MBE counts as another for a total of seven parts. If the applicant earns a passing score on at least six of the seven parts, he or she has successfully passed the bar exam.

The results of the bar exam are posted approximately two months after the test is completed. The names of the people who have passed the exam are listed, as well as the assigned examination numbers of those who have not qualified.

When someone has passes the assessment, there are just a few more things he or she must do before becoming a practicing lawyer in Columbia SC. The first is to make sure the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination has been taken and a passing score attained and sent to the South Carolina Bar Association. This test assesses the understanding and knowledge that a person has of what constitutes ethical and professional conduct for a legal professional. Successful completion of this test is required in most states in order to gain admission to the bar. Each state sets their own threshold, and in this state bar applicants must have a score of 77 percent or better.

Officially, application for admission to the South Carolina Bar Association begins when one fills out the application to take the bar exam. At that time certain documents, including a Law School Verification Affidavit and a Character Affidavit must be filled out and turned in. The paperwork also includes a thorough questionnaire and a request for the applicant’s fingerprints. Because of the level of trust and responsibility that attorneys are given, a complete background check is performed on all individuals that apply for admission to the bar. Assuming everything is in order, a successful applicant will be sworn in as a lawyer in Columbia SC in one of the swearing in ceremonies held four times a year in February, May, September, and November.


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