What Does Bar Stand for in the Bar Exam or Bar Association?
Paul Brannon | December 20, 2022 | Personal Injury
You are likely familiar with the State Bar and the Bar Exam. But what does “bar” mean when it is connected to attorneys, lawyers, and law firms? This term is a source of intrigue and mystery for many observers.
Occam’s razor is a principle stating that the simplest explanation for an observable problem is likely the correct one. This rings true when exploring the origins of the term “bar” as it relates to legal practice.
Some people claim the term bar is an acronym for “British Accredited Registry.” Aside from making little sense, this assertion is patently false.
In reality, the word “bar” refers to the railing that separates the working area of the court from the spectator area. The working area of the court consists of the following:
- Judge’s bench
- Prosecutor’s table
- Defense’s table
- Jury seats
- Witness box
The bar is a reference to the court system’s origins in English common law. In England, a barrister is a type of lawyer who operates within the bounds of common law jurisdiction. When representing their clients, they do so from the “bar.”
Today, the term “bar” applies to associations of licensed attorneys in the United States, while the bar exam is the test required to become a member of these organizations.
How Do Lawyers Join the Bar?
Before they are allowed to practice law, lawyers must become members of their state’s bar association. This rule applies no matter whether they want to practice personal injury law, intellectual property law, or even entertainment law.
In order to become a member of the bar, applicants must pass a comprehensive exam. This test is called the bar exam.
Each bar exam is subject to different protocols, depending on the state that is governing it. Before taking the bar, aspiring attorneys must decide which state they want to practice law in.
What Does the Bar Exam Cover?
The bar exam covers federal and state laws as they apply to the state where the exam is issued. A lawyer cannot receive a license to practice law until they pass the bar exam.
What Is Required for a Law License?
In most states, lawyers must graduate from law school in order to take the bar exam. Some states, such as California and Washington, have alternative routes that do not require law school. However, passing the bar requires a working knowledge of the state’s legal statutes.
In order to be admitted to Florida’s bar exam, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school
- Be working toward a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree
- Be able to produce evidence of good moral character
- Have completed law school requirements prior to taking the bar exam
Each state has its own requirements, so make sure to check the rules and regulations in the state in which you plan to practice law.
The Next Steps
Now that you know what the term “bar” stands for, you should have a more comprehensive understanding of what is required to practice law in the United States. If you have more specific questions about law school or program requirements, it is always a good idea to reach out to the school you plan to attend.
Many programs have dedicated admissions counselors who will assist with onboarding and technical questions to help you make sure the program you are enrolling in is right for you.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547