Bar FAQs

Below are FAQs pertaining to bar exams generally, and more specific questions concerning the New York and California bar exams.

General Bar Exam FAQs

Q: I have a lot of questions about my Bar Forms; who can I talk to in the Registrar’s Office about these questions?
A: While specific questions should often be directed to the state in question’s Board of Bar Examiners, Caitlin Mason can help you with Bar Form related questions. She can be reached by phone at 617-495-3194 or email at cmason@law.harvard.edu.

Q: Are there any fees associated with completing my Bar forms?
A: No, we are happy to provide these services free of charge.

Q: When will my Bar Forms be sent out?
A: The answer to this question varies depending on the Bar Exam you’re taking. Because of the high volume of Bar Forms we receive, we generally complete and send them in order of deadline. Please see our Bar Deadlines page to find out when that will be for you!

Q: How do I know what the deadline is for the forms I’ve submitted to your office for completion?
A: Please visit our Deadline Page, here (*link*)

Q: How will I know when my Bar Forms are sent? Will I get an email?
A: Yes, you will receive an email once your completed Bar Form is sent out.

Q: If an official transcript is required for me to take the Bar, will one be sent automatically?
A: No. If you need to have a transcript sent to any Board of Bar Examiners, you must request one online or in-office. Recent graduates of Harvard Law School are eligible to receive up to ten free transcripts per month when they order online, so having a transcript sent will not cost you anything. Please visit our Transcripts Requests Page to order transcripts: http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/registrar/transcripts/index.html

Q: Can I find my required Bar forms in the Registrar’s Office?
A: No. You are responsible for delivering any forms that you need to have filled out to the Registrar’s Office.

Q: The deadline to have my forms in to the Bar is a long way off, but I have the forms now. Is it too soon to bring them to your office?
A: No, it’s never too soon to drop off your forms. We will hold them until after you’ve graduated, after which time they will be completed in the order of their Bar’s deadline (see our Deadlines page for more information *link*).

Q: If I’m out of town and need to send my Bar Forms to you, can I do so by email or fax, or do I have to send it by mail?
A: It depends on the state in question, but unless the form requires YOUR original signature, you should be able to email or fax your forms to us, at registrar@law.harvard.edu or 617-496-8907.

Q: My required Bar Form says that it is a Dean’s Certification – should I direct this form to the Dean’s Office?
A: No, the Registrar’s Office handles all bar forms; in cases where it is necessary, the Dean’s signature will be affixed to your required document instead of that of the Registrar.

Q: The Board of Bar Examiners for my state doesn’t require a particular form, they just need a letter stating that I’ve graduated. How can I request such a letter?
A: Certificates of Graduation can be requested using our “Certificate of Attendance Request Form”, which is available in our office or online, here: http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/registrar/policies-forms/index.html
Please fill out, sign, and return this form to our office by hand or via mail, email, or fax. If the Board of Bar Examiners requires an original signature on your Certificate of Graduation, please make a note somewhere on the form specifying “original signature”.  Please note that these forms require an actual signature; a typed “signature” will not be sufficient.

Q: The Board of Bar Examiners for my state doesn’t require a particular form, they just need an official final transcript showing that I’ve graduated. How can I request a transcript?
A: There are two ways a transcript can be ordered: by mail or in-office using our Transcript Request Form, or online using our online ordering system. Both options can be found on our Transcript Request Page, here: http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/registrar/transcripts/index.html
Current students and recent graduates are eligible to receive free transcripts when they are ordered online; transcripts ordered in-office or by mail are $3 per copy.

Q: Some of my bar forms need to be notarized. Do you have a Notary Public in your office who can help me?
A: Yes, we do. Our Associate Registrar for Operations, Susan Salvato, is a licensed Notary Public who can help with these forms. She can be reached by phone at 617-496-4565 or by email at salvato@law.harvard.edu.

New York FAQs

Q: I’m a JD student. What forms do I need to submit through your office?
A: You actually have a couple of options with what you would like to submit. You will have to submit a Specimen of Applicant’s Handwriting. In addition, you will have to submit EITHER a New York Bar Certificate of Attendance Form, or an official transcript.

Q: I’m an LL.M student. What forms do I need to submit through your office?
A: There are three items you will need to submit through our office: a Specimen of Applicant’s Handwriting, an LLM Certificate of Attendance form, and an official transcript.

Q: If I am out of state when I complete my New York Bar Specimen of Applicant’s Handwriting Form, can the staff at the Registrar’s Office verify my handwriting without viewing the completion of the form?
A: No. You will need to bring a blank copy of the Specimen of Applicant’s Handwriting Form to a Notary Public, and will then need to fill out and sign your form in front of them, and have the Notary affix their seal and signature on the document. You will also need to request a letter from our office, certifying that you were out of state at the time of your Specimen of Applicant’s Handwriting Form. The form to request such a letter is available on our Policies and Forms page, located here: http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/registrar/policies-forms/index.html
The letter we provide, along with your completed, notarized handwriting form, can then be sent by you to the New York Board of Law Examiners.

Q: I’ve submitted all the necessary forms and it’s getting close to the due date, and I’m concerned my New York Bar documents haven’t been sent yet; should I call or email to check on their status?
A: Because such a high volume of HLS graduates apply to take the New York Bar Exam, we often hold the forms until the day before the deadline, June 14, and which time we will have them sent to the New York Bar via FedEx Standard Overnight, at no cost to students. This guarantees that all of the forms make it in time for the deadline, and also ensures that they all arrive safely. As mentioned above, an email will be sent to alert you once your forms have been sent, and will list the FedEx tracking number so you can track that package online.

California FAQs

Q: What forms do I need to provide to the Registrar’s Office to fulfill the requirements for sitting for the California Bar Exam?
A: The California Bar will send us forms to certify your graduation and character and fitness directly. However, they also require that an official transcript be sent to them; this will need to be requested by you, in our office or using our online ordering system.

Q: The California Bar says that they will request a transcript on my behalf. Is this correct, and will a transcript be sent?
A: No. In order to have a transcript sent to the California Bar, you will need to request one personally. Current students and recent graduates are eligible to receive free transcripts when they are ordered online, so you can request that a transcript be sent on to the California Bar at no cost to yourself by ordering a transcript here: https://www.studentclearinghouse.org/secure_area/Transcript/to_home.asp?t=153424&LoginHome=to_home.asp

Last modified: April 01, 2013

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