The Kentucky bar exam is administered the last week of February and July every year. On Tuesday, applicants answer a total of twelve essays, six in the morning and six in the afternoon. Each answer must be written in thirty minutes and may be either handwritten or typed. Topics vary from test to test, but each essay will cover one or more of the following subjects:
On Wednesday, applicants take the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), which consists of 200 multiple choice questions on the topics shown in boldface type. Kentucky will accept an MBE score from another state, if the score is no more than three years old. Many who practice in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area want to be licensed in both states. By taking the Ohio bar first, transferring your Ohio MBE score to Kentucky, and subsequently taking only the essay portion of the Kentucky bar, you can be licensed in both jurisdictions, having taken a total of 3 ½ days of bar examinations. Ohio does not accept MBE scores obtained on other state bar exams, so an applicant who took Kentucky first would take 4 ½ days of bar examinations to obtain both licenses.
Applicants must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), which is administered each March, August, and November. The MPRE can be taken in any state and the results transferred to any other state. It tests knowledge and understanding of the ethical standards that govern the legal profession. In Kentucky, an applicant must pass the MPRE before taking the bar exam. Therefore, if you plan to graduate in May and to take the bar exam in July, you should take the MPRE no later than November of your final year of law school. December graduates should take the MPRE no later than the August before their final semester.
A law student planning to take the Kentucky bar exam can apply online by February 1st of the final year of law school. The initial filing deadline for taking the February bar exam is October 1st. Late fees apply if you miss these deadlines.
Director & General Counsel
Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions
1510 Newtown Pike, Suite 156
Lexington, Kentucky 40511-1255