Applying To Take The Maryland Out-of-State Lawyers Bar Exam

by Jamison Koehler on December 16, 2012
D.C. skyline

The last time I sat for a bar exam – in Virginia in 2010, after taking the Pennsylvania exam in 2006 – I swore to myself that I would never, ever do it again. Filling out the application for the character evaluation was bad enough. Learning umpteen new subjects in which I had no interest and then sitting for two days in my suit-and-tie in Norfolk was even worse.

That was then. This is now. With my wife and me considering a move to Baltimore next year after our last child leaves home for college, I am now filling out yet another application – this time to sit for the Maryland Out-of-State Lawyers Bar Exam in February.

As I understand it, the exam is actually not all that bad, at least as these things go. It is three-hours long, as opposed to two or three days, and it is open book. Some people have told me they passed the bar after just a couple hours of preparation, with most of the time spent indexing the source materials for easy reference. Someone else told me she hired a tutor. I myself plan to index the source materials and then spend a day or two going through the old exams and model answers that are posted on the Maryland State Board of Bar Examiners website.

If the time I have allotted for preparation does not turn out to be enough, you can be sure that you will not read about that here. In fact, should I ultimately fail the exam, one of the very first things I will do is to come back here and delete this entry. Because, after all, who needs the humiliation?

More like this:

Passing the Maryland Out-of-State Attorneys’ Bar Exam

Preparing for the Virginia Bar Examination

The Virginia Bar Exam:  How Much Studying is Enough?

Surviving the Virginia Bar Exam:  Reflections After Day One


43 Comments on “Applying To Take The Maryland Out-of-State Lawyers Bar Exam

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  4. Do they tell you ahead of time which subjects will be tested? I just don’t know how a person can possibly use resources during a bar exam, given the time constraints. Granted, I probably tend to over prepare (even after sitting for four different states’ bar exams), but bar exams still scare me!

  5. Makes sense to me. This would be one of the very few times in your career where you will be able to dispose of the evidence without entering into a criminal conspiracy. You can’t pass that up.

  6. The reason it is open book is that they test in Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Ethics, at least that is what they did when I took it.
    Thing to be wary of: the distinctly different rules for Baltimore City and Baltimore County, which are separate jurisdictions.

  7. I took this exam in February 2009. It was open book, in that you were allowed to bring selected volumes of the Maryland Code. The test supposedly covered Evidence, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, and Ethics. I actually studied pretty hard for it; I took a review course and a bunch of practice exams. The problem is that 40 percent of the actual exam questions were outside the topic areas that were supposed to be tested! I’m not sure what the pass rate was, but there were a lot of people who didn’t finish the exam. I passed, but was left with the distinct feeling that the test was constructed as way to try to keep potential competitors out of the market. Good luck!

  8. I am sitting for the February 2013 Attorney’s Bar. Just a suggestion, look online for the books. I called West and Lexis for quotes on the cost of the books. Needless to say I found the books online for half the price. If anyone can suggest a study course I would totally be interested.

  9. So I took the exam today. I thought it was ok. I guess we will find out in April. Any thoughts?

  10. Darnell: What? And you didn’t come over to say hello?

    I was glad there weren’t as many as civil pro questions as there sometimes are.

  11. Question 5 about Clarence took me longer to answer then I would have liked. All and all I feel ok about it, just praying for that 70% or higher. What I think is a little cruel is the fact they let us take home the questions. So I spent an hour after I got home reviewing my answers. As a plan B I have also applied for reciprocity in PA, thank goodness there is no exam requirement. Please keep us posted.

  12. I also took the exam Tuesday and found the Clarence question to be very difficult! Being a civil litigator, that one was out of my comfort zone. I’m still not confident I’ve found the right answer! Do we know if the exam is curved at all?

  13. Lindsay: Question #4 had to do with Al the juvenile who was convicted of possessing the firearm and Question #5 involved Clarence and the IOLTA account, right? And, yes, I am a criminal defense lawyer who does lots of juvenile work, and I was still unclear exactly what they were asking for. I guess we will have to wait until they post the model answers to find out.

  14. So I got my results today in the mail and I PASSED. YEY!!!!!. The only issue is that an “exception” to my admission has been noted which has me a little worried. I am not quite sure what the issue is. How did everyone else do and did anyone else also have an “exception” placed on their admission.

  15. Congratulations! I’m still waiting for my results, unfortunately. I’m a little stressed about it… I recall leaving the exam in February feeling at least comfortable that I had given it my best shot, and that I believed I had a good — or at least passable — response for nearly every question. The one hour commute home to the mailbox will not be a pleasant one tonight! I’m just going to hope for the best.

    Perhaps you have an “exception” next to your name because the character fitness analysis has not been completed yet. That is the only thing I can think of.

  16. Congrats to Darnell. I too am still waiting for the results.

  17. I passed it too, and there was an exception placed on my admission as well. All it means is that they have not yet completed the character evaluation.

  18. Pingback: Passing the Maryland Out-of-State Attorneys' Bar Exam | Koehler Law

  19. I passed the exam as well, with an exception on my admission. I don’t know any of you, but congrats to all! I wasn’t so much afraid of failing, but of having to face my colleagues at my firm with bad news….Thankfully, that’s all behind us.

    Best regards.

  20. What do you mean by indexing the source materials for easy reference? I thought we couldn’t bring anything in that was homemade, like an an index.

  21. Congratulations to everyone who passed. I still am waiting to hear back from the Bar about my “exception”. Anyone else with an exception have the issue resulted yet? Also what did you think of the all day Professional Ethic Conference. I was 15 minutes late ( could not find parking) and got ripped into by a judge. Yet when she asked me where I worked and I informed her she was much more pleasant.

  22. Darnell: I am still waiting for my “exception” too. A couple of my references were slow in getting back to them. They are also waiting for the Virginia police to get back to them to confirm I don’t have a criminal history. So where do you work such that a judge finds it impressive?

  23. Jamison I would be glad to tell you offline where I work, but I think it help save my butt. I just got a letter from the Bar folks asking for a credit report a cert. of good standing, and other docs. I had a bit of a verbal run in with a woman who works at the bar. This process is very frustrating, but onward through the fog. Has anyone here who passed the Out of State exam in Feb 2013 taken the oath, just wondering?

  24. Just curious, does everyone who takes the Out of State exam have to submit a credit report to the Bar folks? this has me a little concerned.

  25. Hi! Not sure if this is checked regularly, but does anyone who took the Maryland attorneys’ bar happen to have the book from the barbri review course that they would like to sale? Apparently BarBri does not like to always make money and has decided not to offer the course for the July session.

    Please email me if interested-

    Thank you!

  26. Danielle I had to submitt a credit report as well. Just wondering of those that took the February 2013 md out of state attorney bar how many of you are still waiting to be certified?

  27. Just an update, I got a letter from the MD Board of Law examiners on Monday and I have been recommended for admission. YEY. I am glad this is all over. I swear no more bar exams for me….lol

  28. My boyfriend is sitting for the out of state attorneys exam next month and is trying to find the books to buy, but we’ve had no luck finding used copies. Can anyone point me in the right direction? The Lexis pricing is high and I don’t want to have to pay it if we can get them cheaper.

  29. Does anyone have books for the out of state attorney bar that they would be willing to sell? I am taking the exam in July 2014. The cost for the books are ridiculous. My email is

  30. I had luck finding 2 of the books on eBay. Still hunting for the other 2.

  31. I have a set of the 2013 books for the Maryland out-of-state attorney bar exam (open book) that I am willing to sell. email me for more info.
    Sarah Altmann

  32. I am moving to Baltimore in August after practicing in California from 1991-1996, Tennessee from 1997-2005 and Iowa from 2007-present. I’m just starting my application to take the out-of-state attorney exam, so hopefully I’ll be approved to sit for it in February and will be spared the full Bar exam. Do any of you know where to find old exams to review?

  33. Hello everybody,

    I’m going to sit for the out of state Attny exam in February. The MD bar website talks about 4 books in total but reading another persons blog they mentioned 5. Can anybody tell me which ones are they?

    Also is anybody selling the books? Please let me know.


  34. If anyone is willing to sell their statutory books from the Maryland Out of State Attorneys Exam 2014 – 2012 please contact me at
    Thank you!

  35. For sale:

    The 5 volumes of the Maryland Code for the Maryland Out-of-State Attorney (Experienced Attorney) Examination. $350 OBO.

    The Annotated Code of Maryland, Maryland Rules, Volumes 1 and 2.
    The Annotated Code of Maryland, Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article.
    The Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Procedure Article.

    Materials have no writing in them. They do have tabs for the most frequently tested sections; the tabs can be removed upon request.

    I can also furnish you materials I received from my review course and a few pointers at no extra charge.

    Email me at:

    Good luck!

  36. If you’re looking for a prep course for the Md Attorney’s Exam, check out Commonwealth Bar Review. Their content is really good — as good as any bar review course i’ve seen. It seems to be very well tailored to the idiosyncrasies of the Out of State test too.

  37. And I forgot, Commonwealth’s website is:

  38. As far as I can tell, is the only bar review course for the MD out of state exam that you can take online. Everyone else offers in-person tutoring for twice the cost. I’ll be taking the course in preparation for the July exam and I’ll post a review when I’m done.

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