How to Join

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  • The D.C. Court of Appeals Committee on Admissions is responsible for determining whether an applicant will be licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.

  • The D.C. Bar is a separate entity from the D.C. Court of Appeals Committee on Admissions and is not involved in the administration of the bar exam or determining who will be admitted to the practice of law in D.C.

  • The Committee on Admissions oversees the application process through the swearing-in process. After individuals are admitted and sworn in, they will begin to receive service from the D.C. Bar.

  • To become a member of the D.C. Bar, whether by exam, motion, or special legal consultant, visit the Committee on Admissions at http://www.dccourts.gov/court-of-appeals/committee-on-admissions.

  • To check the status of your application, contact the Committee on Admissions at 202-879-2710 or mailto [email protected].

For complete details, please visit the Committee on Admissions at http://www.dccourts.gov/court-of-appeals/committee-on-admissions.

Application Procedures Step-by-Step Process

The exam application for all applicants has two parts: setting up an account through the Committee on Admissions website after completing the priority registration screening form, and completing the character and fitness questionnaire at the National Conference of Bar Examiners website. (Please note that fees are associated with each part of the process).

For complete details, please visit the Committee on Admissions at http://www.dccourts.gov/court-of-appeals/committee-on-admissions.

  1. First-time applicants may open an account by following the link on the COA website. In creating your account, please use the full name you wish to appear on your bar license. You will upload the following documents to this account: character and fitness questionnaire, law school certificate or declaration.

  2. Applicants who have previously applied may access their account either through their saved link or through the COA website.

  3. If you have not already done so, complete and pay the fee for the Character and Fitness Questionnaire accessible on the website of the National Conference of Bar Examiners website. The appropriate bar exam application on the NCBE website will be labeled July/September/October.

  4. Applicants who have previously completed a character and fitness application after June, 2017, are not required to complete a new application, and may simply amend the prior application on file with a Word document with relevant updates including ALL exams taken since the application was initially completed. Applicants who are retaking the exam in D.C., or who have taken the exam in another jurisdiction since a prior application, must list the month, date, and location of the exam.

  5. Applicants who submitted an application to the District of Columbia prior to June 1, 2017, must complete a new character and fitness application.

  6. Because of pandemic conditions, the COA is aware that students may not be able to obtain a law school certificate. Applicants may upload either a law school certificate, or a “declaration of graduation/anticipated graduation.” Either of these documents will fulfill the law school certificate requirement. An electronic signature is acceptable on both documents.

  7. If you do not have a law school certification form completed by your school, you may create a “declaration of graduation/anticipated graduation” by creating a Word document stating the following:

    “I, (applicant’s name) declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the District of Columbia that the foregoing is true and correct. Upon completing the credits necessary for the JD degree before September 9, 2020, at (name of school), an ABA-approved law school, my degree was conferred/will be conferred on (date). I was/was not in violation of any honor codes or subject to discipline while in law school. __________(date) ____________________(signature or electronic signature)

  8. Once you have uploaded the required documents, you must “sign” (electronically) and make payment online.
    • Application fee: $118.00

    • Remote exam fee: $114.00

    • Character and Fitness Questionnaire fee: Please see the fee schedule on the NCBE website.

  9. Additionally, applicants will be required to register a computer with the software vendor for the remote exam delivery, check-in and proctoring. This registration is at no additional cost to the applicant. Information regarding registering your computer for the exam registration will be emailed to applicants in late July and will be posted on the COA website. The registration period will be open for 7 to 10 days. Applicants who do not register their computers will not be able to take the bar exam. Applicants are responsible for checking their email, email spam boxes, and the COA website for information.

For complete details, please visit the Committee on Admissions at http://www.dccourts.gov/court-of-appeals/committee-on-admissions.

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