Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code

Part I. General Provisions

18VAC35-10-10. Examinations.

A. Unless otherwise directed by the board, in each year bar examinations will be held on two successive days in either the City of Richmond or Norfolk beginning on the Tuesday immediately preceding the last Wednesday in February at 9 a.m., and in the City of Roanoke beginning on the Tuesday immediately preceding the last Wednesday in July at 9 a.m.

B. Each examination will consist of two parts, with each part having a morning and afternoon session. The first part, given on Tuesday, is the essay part which is prepared and graded under the supervision of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners. This part will test the applicant's knowledge of:


Conflict of Laws

Constitutional Law



Creditor's Rights

Criminal Law and Procedure

Domestic Relations



Federal Practice and Procedure

Local Government Law


Personal Property

Professional Responsibility

Real Property






Uniform Commercial Code

Virginia Pleading, Practice and Procedure in law and equity (including appellate procedure)

Wills and Administration of Estates

The second part, given on Wednesday, is the Multistate Bar Examination, compiled and graded under the supervision of the National Conference of Bar Examiners Office of Testing. The second part will test the applicant's knowledge of:

Constitutional Law;


Criminal Law;


Real Property;


C. All applicants must concurrently take the essay part and the multistate part of an examination at the same exam administration in Virginia. The scores of both parts will be weighted and combined to determine if the applicant has achieved an overall passing score as set by the board. Such weighting shall be made by a credit of 60% being given the score made on the essay part and a credit of 40% being given the scale score made on the multistate part. Only applicants who achieve such overall passing score will be licensed to practice law in Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-3922 and 54.1-3927 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR168-01-02 § 1.1, eff. October 1, 1993.

18VAC35-10-20. Academic requirements.

A. An applicant for a Virginia bar examination shall:

1. Have received a degree from a law school approved by the American Bar Association, or the board; or

2. Be enrolled and in good standing in any such approved law school and, in the course of regular study, complete all degree requirements prior to the time such examination is given; or

3. Have been approved by the board and thereafter completed the required period of law study as set forth in the Law Reader Program Rule and Regulations of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners.

B. An applicant who has received a portion of his legal training in a foreign law school is also required to have received a degree from an American Bar Association approved law school, and if such degree is other than the LL.B or J.D., the applicant shall furnish a certificate from the dean, assistant dean or acting dean of an American Bar Association approved law school in Virginia that his foreign legal education, together with his approved law school degree, is the equivalent of that required for an LL.B or a J.D. degree in such dean's law school. In addition, such applicant must furnish to the board evidence of his foreign legal degree and of his degree from the American Bar Association approved law school.

C. No applicant will be issued a license to practice law in this state until he has received a degree from an approved law school, or has successfully completed the required period of law study referred to above, and has furnished evidence of the same to the board.

D. Study by correspondence or in a nonapproved law school does not meet the foregoing requirements.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-3922 and 54.1-3926 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR168-01-02 § 1.2, eff. October 1, 1993.

18VAC35-10-30. Character requirements.

A. No person shall be licensed to practice law in Virginia by the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners unless such person first produces evidence satisfactory to the board that the applicant is a person of honest demeanor and good moral character and possesses the requisite fitness to perform the obligations and responsibilities of a practicing attorney. The applicant has the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he possesses these qualifications. If an applicant fails to answer any question on the Character and Fitness Questionnaire or which is otherwise propounded by the board, or to supply any requested documentary material, the board may find that the applicant has not met the burden of proving his good moral character.

B. The primary purposes of character and fitness screening before admission to the Virginia bar are to assure the protection of the public and safeguard the system of justice. An attorney should be one whose record of conduct justifies the trust of clients, adversaries, courts, and others with respect to the professional duties owed to them. A record manifesting a significant deficiency in the honesty, trustworthiness, diligence, or reliability of an applicant may constitute a basis for denial of admission. The revelation or discovery of any of the following may be treated as cause for further inquiry before the board decides whether the applicant possesses the character and fitness to practice law:

1. Commission or conviction of a crime;

2. Violation of the honor code of the applicant's college or university, law school, or other academic misconduct;

3. Making of false statements or omissions, including failing to provide complete and accurate information concerning the applicant's past;

4. Misconduct in employment;

5. Other than an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed services;

6. Acts involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

7. Abuse of legal process;

8. Neglect of financial responsibilities;

9. Neglect of professional obligation;

10. Violation of an order of a court;

11. Evidence of mental or emotional instability;

12. Evidence of an existing and untreated drug or alcohol dependency;

13. Denial of admission to the bar in another jurisdiction on character and fitness grounds;

14. Disciplinary action by a lawyer disciplinary agency or other professional disciplinary agency of any jurisdiction, including pending, unresolved disciplinary complaints against the applicant;

15. Commission of an act constituting the unauthorized practice of law, or unresolved complaints involving allegations of the unauthorized practice of law; or

16. Any other conduct which reflects adversely upon the character or fitness of an applicant.

C. The board shall determine whether the present character and fitness of an applicant qualify the applicant for admission to the practice of law. In making this determination, the following factors will be considered in assigning weight and significance to the applicant's prior conduct:

1. Age of the applicant at the time of the conduct;

2. Recency of the conduct;

3. Reliability of the information concerning the conduct;

4. Seriousness of the conduct;

5. Factors underlying the conduct;

6. Cumulative effect of the conduct or information;

7. Evidence of rehabilitation;

8. Positive social contributions of the applicant since the conduct;

9. Candor of the applicant in the admissions process; and

10. Materiality of any omissions or misrepresentations.

D. Each applicant must file with the board a completed character and fitness questionnaire and pay the required character investigation fee. Applicants may submit their character and fitness questionnaires as soon as they begin their second semester of law school and are encouraged to file their questionnaires as early as possible. Any applicant who believes he may have a character or fitness problem should file early so that such potential problem may be resolved as soon as practicable. The investigation fee shall be set from time to time by the board. The current fee schedule is available from the Office of the Secretary of the board.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-3922 and 54.1-3925.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR168-01-02 § 1.3, eff. October 1, 1993.

18VAC35-10-40. Applicant eligibility.

Any person who meets the foregoing education, character and fitness requirements may file an application to take a Virginia bar examination.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-3922 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR168-01-02 § 1.4, eff. October 1, 1993.

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