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Mississippi was home to the United States’ first bar association for lawyers, organized in Natchez in 1821, according to the Mississippi Bar Association. After years of ups and downs, the state bar association was unified in 1832. Today, there are over 8000 members of the Mississippi bar. The Bar has adopted mandatory Continuing Legal Education for lawyers in the state, has established the Interest on Lawyers Trust Account program; has constructed the Mississippi Bar Center and has piloted many other programs benefiting not only Mississippi lawyers but also Mississippi residents. If you would like to become a member of the Mississippi bar, keep reading for instructions on how to do so.
The Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions says that you must have either a bachelor’s degree or have completed three years of a six-year pre-law/law integrated curriculum to fulfill the state’s undergraduate education requirements for lawyers.
The undergraduate college or university that you attend must be accredited by a national or regional agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This will ensure acceptance of your undergraduate education by the Board as well as by ABA-accredited law schools to which you later apply for enrollment.
Requirements and Standards
Your undergraduate major should be a subject in which you are interested and which challenges you. There are no right or wrong majors or courses to take in undergraduate school as a pre-law student. A thorough, broad knowledge of humanities will help to prepare you for the rigorous curriculum you will encounter in law school.
You must either receive a bachelor’s degree or you must have completed three years of a six-year integrated pre-law/law curriculum, under Board rules. Your major need not be in any particular area, although majors taken from humanities, history, government, political science and economics are popular choices for pre-law students.
Next, you must pass the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test. This standardized admission test lasts six hours and is offered quarterly around the country.
How to prepare
Free study materials for students may be found at the LSAT website. If you wish to take a LSAT preparation course, options in Mississippi include:
LSAT Exam Prep Courses in Mississippi:
LSAT Exam content
You will be tested in the following areas on the LSAT:
Apply online to take the LSAT, and pay the $190 exam fee. The LSAT is offered four times per year at the following locations in Mississippi:
Receiving Your Score
The lowest LSAT score you can possibly obtain is 120, and the highest, 180. You should expect to receive yours by mail approximately 21 days after taking the LSAT. Average LSAT scores of admittees to Mississippi law schools are as follows:
Law School Application Process
Once you have completed your undergraduate education and passed the LSAT, you are ready to apply to law schools. Under Mississippi’s bar admission rules, you must graduate from an American Bar Association-accredited law school. You may attend any of the over 200 such accredited law schools across the country, listed in the LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools.
Credential Assembly Service
In order to apply for admission to an ABA-accredited law school, you must use the Law School Admission Council’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). You will gather transcripts from any institution you have attended classes for credit and send them to the CAS. You will also provide the LSAC with names of persons who will write your letters of recommendation, and who will write online evaluations of your work. The fee to use the CAS is $195, and covers the electronic applications made to the ABA-accredited law schools you choose.
All who intend to sit for the Mississippi bar exam must have a J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school (or be no more than 60 days away from completing requirements for such a degree at the time you take the exam).
ABA-Accredited Law Schools in Mississippi
Two law schools in Mississippi hold ABA accreditation. They are:
As a law school student in Mississippi, courses you will take in the average curriculum include:
Online Law Degrees
Most Mississippi law schools will require that you fulfill an internship while a law school student. This may involve working in an on-site legal setting or working in a school legal aid clinic assisting the indigent. Whatever your situation, your job performance will be graded by a supervisor as well as by a member of your law school faculty.
You must register with the Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions by October 1 of your second year of law school and pay a fee of $125. (If you fail to file your application by the deadline, you will face a late registration fee of $325). The Dean of your law school must attach a certification of your progress towards your J.D. degree along with your grades. In addition to the Law Student Registration Application, you must:
J.D. Degree Programs
You must receive a J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school (or complete the majority of the requirements for one – see above) in order to sit for the Mississippi bar exam. There may be opportunities to receive dual degrees or certificates in other areas in addition to your J.D. degree. Check with your law school for details.
After you are at least 21 years old, have registered as a law student in Mississippi and completed the majority of requirements for or received your J.D. degree, you are ready to take the state’s bar exam.
Graduates of Foreign Law Schools
Graduates of law schools located outside of the United States are not eligible to take Mississippi’s bar exam.
The Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions posts past essay questions and answer explanations on its website. Reviewing these may be of great assistance to you as you prepare to take the state’s bar exam. The National Conference of Bar Examiners website provides free study aids for the MBE (Multistate Bar Examination), MEE (Multistate Essay Exam) and MPT (Multistate Performance Test).
Other resources to help you prepare to take the Mississippi Bar Exam include:
Mississippi’s bar exam is a two-day event. The first day you will have six Mississippi essay questions and will be given an hour to spend on each one. While essay subjects vary, for the February 2019 bar exam they are:
That day, you will also take the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) consisting of two 90-minute questions, and six Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) questions.
The second day of the bar exam will consist of the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), 200 multiple choice questions on any of the following subjects:
Applications for the upcoming bar exam will be posted online at the Board website. The Mississippi Board of Bar Examiners has posted a handy five-minute video here to explain the process of filing your bar exam application online. The fee to take the exam is $850 and will also be explained in this video.
MBE Transfer Scores
If you took the MBE in another jurisdiction within 20 months of taking the Mississippi bar exam, you may transfer the actual scaled score you received to Mississippi.
The Mississippi Supreme Court says that in 2017, the overall pass rate between the February and July exams was 52.2 percent. In 2016, it was 68.8 percent. In 2015, the overall pass rate was 75.1 percent.
Admission on Motion
If you are already a member of the bar in another jurisdiction, you may be eligible for Admission on Motion to the Mississippi bar. You must meet the following requirements:
As of 2018, the only jurisdictions not reciprocal with Mississippi are California, Delaware, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana, Palau, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the Virgin Islands. Visit this link for more information on Admission on Motion.
Licensing and Admission to the Bar
You will receive your bar exam results by mail about eight weeks post-exam. Your bar admission will be held in Jackson at a specified date and time. You will be sworn in to a Chancery Court and must then register with the Mississippi Bar and pay annual enrollment fees. Email Nikki McIntyre with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have reached the final milestone in your quest to become a Mississippi lawyer and are now a full-fledged bar member in the state! The Mississippi Bar Association can help you as you plan your career course. As a new lawyer, or if you are a lawyer in the state under age 37, you are automatically a member of the association’s Young Lawyers Division (YLD). Local affiliates of the YLD may be able to help you and include:
Mississippi has many law firms throughout the state in various areas of practice. Some of the most well known include:
If you prefer to work for a company, legal positions are often available across the state. While there are no Fortune 500 companies in the state as of 2018, larger companies in Mississippi include Sta-Home Health and Hospice Inc. in Jackson; Sanderson Farms in Laurel; Commerce Bancorp LLC in Greenwood; Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport; and The Yates Companies Inc. in Philadelphia.
Legal specialty certification
If you want to practice in a specialized legal area, you might consider certification. The National Board of Trial Advocacy offers certification services for specializations including civil trial law advocacy, social security disability advocacy, family law, civil law, and criminal law. You must take an exam and file an application in order to receive certification and fulfill continuing education activities to keep your certification valid.
Requirements for maintaining license
To maintain your legal license and bar admission status in Mississippi, you must complete at least 12 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) per year. This includes one hour of legal ethics, professionalism, professional responsibility, substance abuse or mental health, or malpractice prevention. For more information, contact the State of Mississippi Judiciary Commission on Continuing Legal Education.
Court Systems in Mississippi
Mississippi’s Courts are divided as structured below:
Elective membership organizations
Here are a few membership organizations for professional lawyers in Mississippi in which membership might benefit your career:
Lawyer Career Specialties
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