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. 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 host mass ceremonies. Since the advent of COVID-19, these ceremonies are being conducted virtually.
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. 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 for your admission in open court. At a group swearing-in ceremony, the host bar association will arrange for someone to make the motion. For example, at the Supreme Court ceremony, the SBM president will move for your admission. 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 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. Follow the court’s direction for receiving a copy of the executed order and ensuring it is provided 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 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 approximately 15 business days after all documents and payment have been received, and if you choose to receive a bar card, it will arrive in the mail two to three weeks later.