Unemployed? No job prospects? How to pick a state bar exam.

By Joni Wiredu,
BARBRI Senior Director of Legal Education

It’s a question many students have when stopping by the BARBRI table to enroll: how to choose a state bar exam if currently unemployed? The good news is that BARBRI is the only bar review course offered in all 50 states, including Washington D.C., so you have options. You can take our course in the state you’re considering and there may even be a lecture location you can attend right in your area. Be sure to check with your BARBRI representative for more information.


Choosing a state bar exam is a deeply personal decision and may involve input from family, friends, your law professors and/or law school career counselors.

Start with this: Where do you see yourself in five years? (Don’t you hate that question!) Interviewers tend to ask it often during the interview process. The purpose is to gauge your commitment to the company or agency you are pursuing. For the bar exam, it is a similar commitment question.


  • Location — When considering state bar exams, target (and research) where you’d like to live most.
  • Bar Admission requirements — Examine the bar exam subjects tested, the bar’s format, CLE requirements and fees associated with maintaining good standing.
  • Legal industry — Is the market saturated with attorneys and is the legal industry of your choice in your area/region of the country?
  • Family obligations — Do you want to go back to your hometown? If so, why?
  • Professional Network — What professional contacts have you made? Does your school have an alumni network that would allow you to pursue your goals? Do you have access to mentors in that state?
  • Family and friends network — Do you have the support your need to pursue your goals?
  • Reciprocity — Most states allow admission on motion after practicing for a number of years.

Know that you have access to an array of BARBRI resources. Stop by the BARBRI table at your law school to pick up a BARBRI Bar Exam Digest that includes the format and subjects tested on the bar exams for all 50 states and Washington D.C. Our digest also includes information about reciprocity. For more details, consult the websites of the state bar exams you are considering.