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

If you’ve recently passed the Michigan bar exam, congratulations! There are just a few more steps you need to take before you’ll 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 bar exam passers. Note the date on your BLE certification; it will expire after three years. Once you have this document, you may present it individually to one of the circuit courts of the state for the purpose of being sworn in, or at a mass admission ceremony. Several local bar associations host mass swearing-in ceremonies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these mass swearing-in ceremonies are being conducted virtually, within weeks of the list of bar exam passers being posted. Please note that for a private individual swearing-in, you will need to contact a Michigan circuit court and arrange the ceremony with court staff. Many judges, but not all, are equipped to swear in candidates via Zoom or other virtual means. Please check with the court.

A licensed Michigan attorney must make a motion in open court for your admission. At a mass swearing-in, you do not need to 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 admission ceremony you’d like to attend. In all events, you must also remit to the court the statutory $25.00 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. You then sign the Order of Admission and email a copy to the court. The court will execute the signed order and send it to the State Bar of Michigan. The order will expire after three years.

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

After you’ve 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 the 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 a week after you submit your application, and if you choose to receive a bar card, it will arrive in the mail two to three weeks later.