»Bar Exam Preparation

Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law offers a unique in-house bar preparation program to complement traditional doctrinal law school coursework, with a goal of fully and adequately preparing students for the California and out-of-state bar examinations. Chapman's bar exam pass rate for first-time takers has risen dramatically since instituting this program in 2006, including a pass rate for the July 2012 exam that ranked Chapman 7th among California ABA schools. (See complete California Bar Exam Statistics.) 

Chapman's bar preparation program consists of two major components: for-credit courses and a supplemental bar preparation program. Students that actively participate in all of the components receive preparation for all three parts of the Bar examination:

  • the six essay questions 
  • the two performance examinations 
  • the multi-state bar examinations

The program is taught and supervised by Professor Mario Mainero, the law school’s Director of Bar Services.

For-credit Bar Preparation Courses

The Fowler School of Law offers two separate and distinct for-credit bar preparation courses: Select topics in American law, and legal analysis workshop.

Select topics in American law, taught by Professor Mainero, is a survey of all essay subjects covered by the California Bar Exam, and reviews both the substantive law and methods for successfully writing essay examinations in the most commonly tested topics within each of those subjects. There, students will review at least one major essay subject per week, in lecture format, and will complete and review two practice essays per week in each subject. This course is open to all Chapman University Fowler School of Law students.

Legal Analysis Workshop, taught by Professors John Bishop and Kent Sommer, focuses on the Performance Exam. There, students will work on the analysis and drafting of legal documents commonly prepared during the first few years of practice and commonly tested on the Performance Exam section, such as letters, memoranda of points and authorities, and briefs. For further information, go to the Legal Analysis Workshop page.

Supplemental Bar Preparation Program

The supplemental bar preparation program consists of two parts: (1) ongoing essay critiques; and (2) MBE Mock Bars and reviews. The supplemental program is not intended to replace the commercial bar preparation courses that most students take during the nine-week period before the bar exam, but rather to supplement those courses and provide assistance in a more individualized manner that those courses often cannot provide.


In Part 1, as students review particular subjects in the commercial review, they can submit their practice essays and performance exams to a team coordinated by Professor Mainero, and that team will critique these practice works and return them to students with comments within 24 to 48 hours.

Part 2 largely consists of administering three Mock Bar MBE’s: one at the beginning of the bar prep season—shortly after the beginning of the program; one after about 3 weeks; and one more after another three weeks or so. In the interim between each Mock Bar, students meet for six 2-hour sessions to review each of the six subjects and the MBE questions related to those subjects on the previous Mock Bar. These sessions are scheduled so as not to conflict with the commercial review sessions, usually twice a week.

Contact Us

For further information, please contact Professor Mario Mainero, Director of Bar Services, at mmainero@chapman.edu, or (714) 628-2518.

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Quick Facts

APPLICATIONS FOR THE JULY BAR ARE GENERALLY AVAILABLE MARCH 1, AND FOR THE FEBRUARY BAR ON OCTOBER 1.
Testing locations fill up quickly--apply the first day applications are available to reserve your preferred seat.

YOU CAN APPLY ONLINE FOR THE BAR EXAM.
The moral character application must be submitted via hard copy, but can be printed out off the CA Bar website at www.calbar.ca.gov.

DATES AND FEES FOR THE CA BAR EXAM CHANGE EVERY YEAR.
Regularly check the official CA Bar website at www.calbar.ca.gov.

BAR FEES
Can be anywhere $1,000 TO $1,500 for the exam, the moral character application, laptop use, etc. Late fees can quickly add up, so sign up on time, sign up early!

YOU MUST FILE A SEPARATE MORAL CHARACTER APPLICATION.
File it as soon as possible! It takes a minimum of 180 days to process the application.

THE BAR IS NOT THE ONLY EXAM!
You must also take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). The separate application is available from the National Committee of Bar Examiners at www.ncbex.org

DISABILITY ACCOMMODATIONS
Take a lot of time, effort and fees. Apply for them as early as possible!

YOU MUST FIRST REGISTER AS A LAW STUDENT
Before you may apply to take the exam or submit your moral character application. If you have not registered as a law student, do so immediately.

SSN# REQUIRED.
You must have a valid social security number to register to take the bar exam in California.

OUT OF STATE BAR EXAMS.
For a brief survey of requirements for bar admission and a description of bar exam coverage in all 50 states, go to this link: http://barexam.info. For more detail, go to the website for the state bar in the state in whose exam you are interested.

Bar Exam Orientation for Parents - Webcast

Preparing for and taking the bar requires a commitment comparable to a full time job - often 7 days per week. Chapman Law recently hosted a special event, Bar Exam Orientation for Parents, to raise awareness about this rigorous examination. View video archive.

    Michael Bruk

    Michael Bruk ('12)

    "I received the tools necessary to pass both the California and the New York Bar."


    Samantha Bigonger

    Samantha Bigonger ('12)

    "Chapman's Bar Prep Program gets each participant prepared and ultimately more comfortable with taking the biggest examination of their lives."


    Katrina Bergstrom

    Katrina Bergstrom ('12)

    "Chapman's supplemental Bar Prep Program was a fundamental part of helping me pass the California Bar Exam."


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