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Bar Admission Requirements & Qualifications

USC Gould School of Law

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

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State Bar Registration

Every applicant for admission to practice law in California must file a registration application with the Committee of Bar Examiners. This registration must be completed before being allowed to take the bar exam in California.

Students should submit the registration application during their first year of law school. Completing this registration early will ensure that there are no delays when applying for the bar exam during the third year of law school. The registration form is available online at the California State Bar's website.

While completing the online registration please note the following:

  • The FYLSX is an exam that is administered by the California Board of Law Examiners to certain students. All USC Gould students enrolled in the JD program are exempt from the FYLSX.
  • Students must pay the registration fee when the Application for Registration is submitted. Payment must be made by a Visa, MasterCard, or a debit card.
  • Students must have a social security number to register with the Committee of Bar Examiners. If you do not have a social security number please contact the Associate Dean of Students Affairs.

If you are unsure about seeking admission to the State Bar of California you may delay submitting the registration. Once the registration is submitted, there is no refund of the registration fee.


A number of online resources are available to answer questions about California Bar admission and registration. Students may wish to begin reading the basic general information available on the law school Registrar's website.

Additional details about the California Bar are available online.

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Information regarding the New York State Bar exam may be found online.

The New York Bar has a Skills Competency Requirement for Admission. There are five pathways through which applicants for admission to practice in New York may satisfy the New York Court of Appeals Skills Competency Requirement for Admission to the Bar. JD students commencing their studies after Aug. 1, 2016 must fulfill one of the five pathways, as described by Section 520.18 of the NY Court of Appeals Rules for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law.

Students are advised to closely review the information provided by the New York Court of Appeals.

Please note: These links may be updated by the New York Courts website at any time. Students are advised to refer directly to the New York Courts page.

USC Gould JD candidates may fulfill this requirement through Pathway 2.

Pathway 2
Pathway 2 can be satisfied through certification that the applicant enrolled in and successfully completed 15 credit hours, as defined by the American Bar Association Standards for the Approval of Law Schools, of practice-based experiential coursework designed to foster the development of professional competencies. JD candidates who have successfully completed 15 credits of experiential learning coursework at USC Gould School of Law can demonstrate satisfaction of the requirement through Pathway 2.
Up to six skills credit may be acquired through employment: New York Certification
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Each jurisdiction has its own rules regarding Bar admission. In addition, those rules change from time to time. Thus, the rules in one state may not be the same as the rules in another state. It is therefore advised that students investigate these issues with respect to each state where they are likely to practice. Keep in mind that the rules may also change between now and when students graduate (and are ready to seek admission to the Bar).

The Bar Administration in each state is an autonomous quasi-governmental entity and the Bar administrators expect to have a direct relationship with students individually, not with the law school on your behalf. USC Gould has no authority to make or change the rules of Bar admission.

Students interested in being admitted to practice in states other than California are encouraged to contact the Committee of Bar Examiners directly in each state where the Bar is to be taken. Contact information for each state is available online. Students may select their bar exam jurisdiction from the pull-down menu on the right side of the page.