Applying for the bar in Minnesota and other states is an extensive and time-consuming process. Admission requirements vary by state, and students are urged to research the requirements, timelines, and standards for the bar(s) of the state(s) in which they intend to apply at least six months in advance of the scheduled exam date. For a comprehensive guide to the bar application process from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and for a list of links to bar admissions offices in all 50 states, visit: http://www.ncbex.org/bar-admissions/
Certificates of Graduation (See Academic Rules 2-5)
State bars require that the Law School certify applicants as having met all Juris Doctor degree requirements in order to sit for the bar exam. The Law School Registrar’s Office tracks the deadlines and certification requirements for each state to which graduates intend to apply, and keeps detailed lists of certifications by state and by student. State bar certification forms are prepared by the Registrar’s Office based on students’ Graduation Assessment forms and their transcript records. Certifications are forwarded to the Dean or Dean’s delegate for signature, and then submitted directly to the bar examiners in each state.
Students intending to apply for the bar outside of Minnesota should submit the appropriate state bar certification form to the Registrar’s Office at least one month prior to the certification deadline. The Registrar’s Office carefully tracks the bar certification deadlines for each state bar in order to ensure that completed certifications are received in a timely fashion.
Until a bar applicant has completed allJuris Doctor degree requirements, the Law School cannot forward a bar certification, and the applicant may not be able to sit for the bar exam. Students with incomplete coursework are responsible for finishing all required assignments, and for following up with the faculty member and Registrar’s Office to ensure a grade is entered.
A Certificate of Graduation is a formal certification signed by the Dean of Academic Affairs certifying a student’s dates of enrollment, graduation date, degree, and attesting to the student’s character fitness. Certificates of Graduation are typically submitted to a states’ bar examiner’s office in order to verify a student’s /alumni’s legal education.
To request a Certificate of Graduation, complete the Request Form, attach the state bar certification form if applicable, and mail or fax to the Office of the Registrar.
Requests should be addressed to:
Attn: Assistant Registrar Office of the Registrar University of Minnesota Law School 229 19th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55455 Fax: (612) 626-1874
Character and Fitness
The Character and Fitness evaluation process is a critical part of bar admission in most states, and students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the expectations for practice early in their law school careers. To help with this, representatives of the Minnesota State Board of Law Examiners address first-year students at Orientation and again prior to students’ graduation in the third year. For information about Minnesota’s Character and Fitness evaluation process, see: www.ble.state.mn.us/character_and_fitness.html. For admissions standards in other states, consult the applicable state bar admissions Web site.
Student records, including law school applications, may be reviewed by the Board of Law Examiners as part of the Character and Fitness evaluation process. Inconsistencies between the information disclosed on a student’s law school application and his or her bar application may subject the applicant to further scrutiny, and require an amendment to his or her law school application. Students seeking to amend their law school application should consult the Assistant Dean of Students.
Other bar admission questions and concerns of a confidential nature also may be addressed to the Assistant Dean of Students. Students are especially encouraged to meet with the Assistant Dean of Students early in their law school career if they have a history of alcohol or chemical dependency, criminal matters, academic misconduct, significant mental health impairments, or other concerns that may relate to the ability to meet requirements of practice. Students should note that no single condition or incident will automatically prevent admission to the bar; rather, bar examiners encourage students to directly address and treat any condition that may lead to a conduct concern or impair an individual’s ability to comply with practice standards.
Some states, including Minnesota, have also introduced a Conditional Admissions process, which allows a bar applicant with recent impairments to be admitted to practice under certain conditions and supervision. Evidence of current fitness and rehabilitation from past impairments are often important considerations in the Character and Fitness evaluation process. Therefore, seeking appropriate support or treatment is strongly encouraged.
Class ranks are computed but not revealed to students or others except for two reasons: 1.) for qualifications for Order of the Coif, although ranking is not disclosed to students, and; 2.) for the limited purpose of application for judicial clerkships or academic teaching positions.
Individual students may receive their class rank for the limited purpose of application for judicial clerkships or academic teaching positions provided the student/alumni submits a list of potential judges and academic institutions to the Law School's Office of the Registrar.
Although the Law School's policy on releasing class ranks is widely accepted, a letter stating the Law School's policy towards class ranks may be sent out by the Registar's office if requested.
Access secure online Class Rank Request Form (You must be logged into your umn.edu email account in order to access the online form. If you cannot access or do not have a umn.edu account, please use the downloadable PDF form linked below.)
The Law School releases quartile distributions that indicate the range of grade point averages in each quartile of a particular class. Many students/alumni disclose their grade point average in their resumes and often substitute quartile calculations for class ranks.
In rare circumstances, a law student may need to apply for a change to an examination. To complete the online variance application for such requests, you will need to log in using your UMN x.500 and password.
The Financial Aid Consortium Agreement is a three part document that allows the University of Minnesota’s Office of Student Finance (OSF) to calculate your financial aid award while you are on an approved course of study at another institution, either domestic or abroad. Even though you will be paying tuition to another institution, the University OSF will use the cost-of-attendance estimate from the other school when factoring your aid award. Please note that if you have been receiving scholarship funds for study here at the University of Minnesota Law School, these will not apply while you are enrolled through another institution. Questions about scholarship implications for study away can be referred to the Law School Admissions office.
Directions for Completing the Law School Consortium Agreement
When the student has been accepted to a host institution and is fairly certain he or she will attend that program, the student completes all student portions of the 3-part Consortium Agreement, then routes as appropriate for additional information and signatures as follows:
Consortium Agreement Law: this page summarizes information about the host program, and reflects the number of credits you are approved to pursue at the other institution. This page requires a signature by the Law School’s Assistant Dean of Students;
Cost Estimate (either Fall, Spring or Summer, as appropriate): this form is forwarded to the host institution, which completes the information about cost of attendance and then returns with a signature to the student.
Once all three portions of the Consortium Agreement are complete and signed, they should be routed to Jim Parker in the University of Minnesota’s Office of Student Finance:
Jim Parker Office of Student Finance Graduate/Professional Unit University Of Minnesota, Twin Cities 200 Fraser Hall 106 Pleasant Street S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55455-0422 firstname.lastname@example.org ph: 612-626-0750
The student should retain a copy of the Consortium documents for his or her records, and provide a copy to the Law School Registrar’s Office to be placed with the student file.
Under Academic Rule 10.5, JD students who have completed their first year of law school may earn a limited number of credits for unpaid independent study. Generally, "independent study" includes exercises that permit or require student participation in law-related writing, research, or other activities away from or outside the Law School, or in a format that does not involve attendance at regularly scheduled class sessions. The total number of independent study credits a student may earn is limited by Academic Rule 3.1. Independent study may include legal research and writing projects, or field placement projects in a legal setting. While similar to externships, field placements are set up on an ad hoc basis, usually with a faculty member who has some experience or expertise in the field placement practice area.
Independent Study Registration Information:
A qualifying Independent Research and Writing project requires a student to research and write a substantive paper, note, article, or other writing product on a legal topic. At least 3750 or more words of writing is required per credit. The written product must rely on the student’s original research, be of at least “near-publishable” quality, and include proper legal citation. To register for an independent research project, the student should confer with a supervising faculty member, draft a description of the proposed writing project, and complete the Independent Research form (PDF). The completed Independent Research form must be signed by the faculty member and submitted along with the project description to the Registrar for enrollment.
For Independent Field Placement projects, students may earn up to three credits for unpaid work in a legal practice setting, under the supervision of a qualified field supervisor and a faculty advisor. At least 50 hours of law-related activities are required per credit, and field placement credits are generally evaluated on a Satisfactory/No-Credit basis. The student is responsible for identifying a field placement setting and supervisor, finding a faculty advisor, and completing the Independent Field Placement Enrollment and Independent Field Placement Supervisor Forms. Once the forms are completed, the student obtains the signatures of the faculty supervisor (on the Enrollment form) and field supervisor (Supervisor form). (Signatures may be provided by having the supervisors send a signed statement that the completed form has been read and approved.) The signed forms must then be submitted to the faculty assistant in room N216 for approval by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs prior to enrollment of Independent Field Placement credits.
Read the Independent Field Placement Guide BEFORE completing the form for an explanation of expectations regarding the information requested.
IFP Guide (for student and faculty/field supervisors)
To qualify for a Letter of Good Standing a student must have a cumulative weighted numerical GPA of 2.000 ("C") or higher, and have received no more than two grades below a "C-" in the first year to be in good academic standing.
A Letter of Good Standing is printed on Law School letterhead and signed by the Assistant Registrar. The letter confirms attendance, satisfactory progress and estimated term of graduation.
To request a Letter of Good Standing, launch the online form (UMN.EDU login required), or download and complete the Request Form, and mail or fax to:
Attn: Assistant Registrar University of Minnesota Law School 229 19th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55455 Fax: 612-626-1874
Contact the Registrar's office at email@example.com, if you have questions.
Pursuant to Academic Rule 3.3(c), students who matriculated in 2013 or later and wish to apply non-Law coursework toward their J.D. degree must submit the Non-Law Course Approval Form documenting that the coursework is "substantially law-related."
Degree-seeking students enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or professional program at the University of Minnesota and attorneys may enroll in selected Law courses. Review the Non-Law Student Petition for Law Courses for more information. To enroll, fill out and submit the Petition to the Law School Registrar's Office. The Registrar will manually enroll non-Law students pending available space and instructor consent.
The University of Minnesota is supported by state taxes, and therefore gives tuition preference to residents of Minnesota. However, the University of Minnesota has tuition reciprocity agreements with several states and the Canadian province of Manitoba.
To download information about residency and reciprocity and to access the Resident Classification form, click here.
To download the Student Practice Information and the Certification form, click here.
Student Practice Certification
The Student Practice Rule adopted by the Minnesota Supreme Court allows students to represent government agencies and indigent clients in actual court and administrative agency proceedings under the supervision of a licensed attorney. The Student Practice Rules can be found in the Minnesota Rules of Court. There are two rules: Rule 1, General Student Practice and Rule 2, Clinical Student Practice.
Minnesota Student Practice Eligibility
To be eligible a student must be currently enrolled, have completed at least two semesters of full-time study (24 credits), and be in good academic standing (2.0 G.P.A). The rule also states that students must identify themselves as a student and be accepted by the client.
Rule 1 – General Practice Rule
Rule 1 applies to students working for a government agency or appearing on behalf of an indigent client. It does not apply to students working at private law firms representing clients for a fee. Students who work for private firms that contract to act on behalf of a government agency may be certified. For example, a firm that contracts to complete public defender cases may ask that a student be certified to represent those clients.
The Rule states that the government agency or persons representing an indigent client must submit in writing to the student’s law school the student’s name and a statement that the student will be properly supervised under the provisions of the rule. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the student to complete the Law School’s Student Practice Certification Form and obtain the practicing attorney’s signature to make a request to be certified under Rule 1. This requirement is found under Rule 1.03 of the Student Practice Rules.
Students seeking practice certification under Rule 1 should complete the Student Practice Certification Form. It must be completed and signed by the practicing attorney, and submitted to the Registrar’s Office at the 2nd floor Information Desk. Once the form is received, certification takes approximately one week.
Rule 2 – Clinical Student Practice
Rule 2 applies to students enrolled in a clinic course. Student names are automatically submitted to the Minnesota Supreme Court if they are in a clinic where there may be an opportunity to represent a client. When the drop/add period ends after the first week of school, student names are submitted to the attorney registration clerk. Within two weeks, students will be certified. Students will not be personally notified of their registration. Please see the registrar or law clinics office manager with questions regarding clinic student certification. Students who are not in good standing are ineligible to participate in the Clinics and for student practice certification.
Certification under one rule DOES NOT include certification under the other
Students who work for a government agency and who are also enrolled in a clinic course must be certified under each rule. The Supreme Court maintains a record of who is assuming responsibility for student activities in court. The University of Minnesota Law School accepts that responsibility under Rule 2, Clinical Student Practice. However, the employer must accept that responsibility under Rule 1, General Student Practice.
Length of certification
Both Rule 1 and Rule 2 certifications remain in effect for 12 months. You may be re-certified for an additional 12 months by request. Certification could terminate sooner if certain events occur as stated in Rule 1.03 or Rule 2.03 of the Student Practice Rules.
Student Practice Certification—Other States
Most states have court rules and procedures to certify an eligible law student to appear on a client’s behalf, under the supervision of a licensed attorney in that state. Students seeking practice certification outside of Minnesota are responsible for researching the certification requirement for the state in question, and submitting to the Law School Registrar’s Office all relevant forms and instructions. Questions regarding non-Minnesota student practice certification should be directed to the Registrar’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both official and unofficial transcripts may be obtained from the Law School by completing a Request Form or by sending a written, signed request to the Assistant Registrar. Official transcripts are $15.00 each and checks should be payable to the University of Minnesota. We are not able to accept credit cards. There is no charge for unofficial copies.
Joint/Dual Degree Students:
Unofficial transcripts produced by the Law School reflecting all coursework for the JD degree may be requested using the Student Records Request Form:
We also recommend obtaining a copy of your Law School transcript and graduate work transcript from One Stop.
Faxed transcript requests are accepted but must include your handwritten signature. If requesting an official transcript by fax, payment can be mailed separately. Email requests are not accepted at this time.
Transcript requests may be mailed or faxed to:
Attn: Assistant Registrar University of Minnesota Law School 229 19th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55455 FAX: 612-626-1874