Step 6: What to Do After You Pass the Bar Exam

If you have recently passed the Michigan bar exam, congratulations! There are just a few more steps you need to take before you will be able to practice law in Michigan.

Be sworn in by a court

Shortly after the Board of Law Examiners (BLE) posts to its website the list of bar exam passers by seat number, the BLE will send written certification by mail to all passers. The BLE also sends written certification to all “Rule 5” attorneys, out of state lawyers who qualify for a Michigan law license. Note the date on your BLE certification; it will expire after three years.

Once you have this document, you may present it individually to a Michigan circuit court for the purpose of being sworn in, or you may register for a mass admission ceremony. Several Michigan bar associations and circuit courts host mass ceremonies. 

The Washtenaw County Bar Association is hosting a virtual admission ceremony:

  • May 25, 2023: VIA ZOOM  Washtenaw County Bar Association
    • ‚Äč1:30 pm via Zoom before the Honorable Tracy Van den Bergh
    • Registration required - Zoom information will be provided to registered participants only.
    • Please begin the registration process by completing the Attorney Swearing-in Requirements Document and sending it via email to L-ctadmin@washtenaw.org.  The original documents and fee must be received by the court at least five days prior to the scheduled ceremony

The following bar associations are hosting in-person admission ceremonies:

  • May 24, 2023: Detroit Bar Association
  • May 25, 2023: Ingham County Bar Association
    • 4:00 pm at Veterans Memorial Courthouse before the Honorable Carol N. Koenig
    • Registration and more information: levina@michigan.gov
  • May 31, 2023: Macomb County Bar Association
    • 1:30 pm at 16th Circuit Court before Chief Judge James Biernat, Jr.
    • Registration and more information: www.MacombBar.org
  • June 7, 2023: Grand Rapids Bar Association
    • 3:30 pm at Kent County Courthouse before the Honorable Clay West (17th Circuit Court) and the Honorable Jane Beckering (US District Court - Western District)
    • Registration and more information: https://www.grbar.org/2023SpringAdmissions

If you choose a private individual swearing-in, rather than a group ceremony, you will need to contact a Michigan circuit court and arrange your swearing-in with court staff. Some judges, but not all, are equipped to swear in candidates virtually. Please check with the court.

A licensed Michigan attorney must make a motion for your admission in open court. At a group admission ceremony, the host bar association will arrange for someone to make the motion. If you have a relative, mentor, or friend who is a Michigan attorney and you would like that person to move for your admission, you should arrange your own swearing-in with a Michigan circuit court or check with the local bar association hosting the mass ceremony you would like to attend. In all events, you must also remit to the court the statutory $25 filing fee for the motion.

After the motion is made, the court will administer the Lawyer’s Oath and enter an order admitting you to the State Bar of Michigan. After the ceremony, follow the court’s direction for receiving a copy of the executed order and ensuring it is provided to the State Bar of Michigan. All orders of admission will expire after three years.

Apply to the State Bar of Michigan for your license to practice law

After you have been sworn in, you must submit an online SBM application. Your application is not complete without a copy of the order of admission from your swearing-in and payment of all license fees. Once your SBM application, payment, and order of admission have been received and processed, SBM will assign your “P number,” which registers your license to practice law in Michigan. You can expect an email containing your P number about 10 business days after all documents and payment have been received, and if you choose to receive a bar card, it should arrive in the mail two to three weeks later.