How to Become a Lawyer in Minnesota in 2023: Dates, Cost, and Requirements

Embarking on a journey to learn how to become a lawyer in Minnesota is both rewarding and challenging. As you navigate the path to a successful legal career, understanding the necessary steps—from law school education to bar exam preparation and character evaluations—is crucial. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process, providing insights into the various stages and alternative paths to becoming a lawyer in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Gain a comprehensive legal education from an ABA-accredited law school in Minnesota, focusing on key courses and advanced classes.

  • Prepare for the Minnesota Bar Exam by utilizing resources such as commercial bar review courses, forming or joining study groups, and taking practice exams.

  • Become admitted to the Minnesota State Bar through passing the exam and character & fitness evaluation process while meeting CLE requirements for membership.

Minnesota Law School Education

For those pursuing a career in law in Minnesota, a solid legal education is fundamental. Obtaining a law degree from an American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited law school within the state not only equips you with fundamental knowledge of legal practice, but also exposes you to key courses that will shape your future success in the field.

ABA-Accredited Law Schools in Minnesota

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to two ABA-accredited law schools: the University of Minnesota Law School and Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Both institutions are committed to providing students with a rigorous and comprehensive legal education, preparing them for the demands of a legal career and the long hours of dedication it entails.

Key Courses to Focus On

While in law school, focusing on critical courses that will serve as the backbone of your legal career is of utmost importance. Core subjects such as:

  • Civil Procedure

  • Contracts

  • Criminal Law

  • Constitutional Law

  • Evidence

  • Real Property

  • Torts

Building a strong understanding of the legal profession and practice in Minnesota is crucial, and the role of a general counsel is a key component in achieving this.

In addition to these fundamental courses, taking advanced classes in:

  • commercial law, focusing on limited liability companies and the uniform commercial code

  • administrative law

  • corporate law

  • clinical training

can further enhance your attorney salary potential and career advancement opportunities. Mastering these subjects not only paves the way for a successful Minnesota Bar Exam but also lays the groundwork for a prosperous legal career within the state.

Preparing for the Minnesota Bar Exam

Upon the conclusion of your law school education, the Minnesota Bar Exam presents your next challenge. Preparing for this crucial assessment requires dedication, effective use of resources, and strategic time management. By leveraging various resources and strategies, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the exam and take a significant step toward becoming a licensed attorney in Minnesota.

Bar Exam Preparation Resources

To gear up for the Minnesota Bar Exam, consider utilizing a combination of the following resources:

  • Commercial bar review courses such as Kaplan, BarBri, and Themis, which offer comprehensive study materials and lectures to aid in your preparation

  • Study groups, where you can collaborate with fellow bar exam takers and discuss difficult concepts

  • Practice exams, which will help you familiarize yourself with the format and content of the exam

By utilizing these useful resources, you can increase your chances of passing the Minnesota Bar Exam.

Additionally, forming study groups with peers or joining existing ones can provide invaluable insights and support as you navigate the exam process. Finally, practice exams that simulate the real bar exam can help you gauge your progress and fine-tune your study plan.

Time Management Strategies

For attaining success on the Minnesota Bar Exam, managing time efficiently is paramount. Identifying your most productive study hours and scheduling challenging tasks during those times can optimize your learning. Consistently assessing your progress and fine-tuning your study plan is vital to maintain your focus.

Incorporating self-care and a healthy lifestyle into your study routine is equally important to avoid burnout and maintain your mental alertness. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Take periodic breaks

  • Get adequate rest

  • Eat nutritious meals

  • Engage in physical activity

These practices can enhance your overall well-being, allowing you to make the most of your study time and ultimately excel on the bar exam.

Taking the Minnesota Bar Exam

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  1. With your law school education and bar exam preparation behind you, it’s time to tackle the Minnesota Bar Exam itself. The key elements of this phase include mastering the application process, getting a grasp on deadlines and fees, and acquainting yourself with the subjects tested on the exam. By staying organized and focused, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goal of becoming a lawyer in Minnesota.

Our company has experienced significant growth in the past few years, thanks to our dedicated team and innovative solutions. We are committed to delivering the best possible results for our clients and will continue to strive for excellence in the years to come.

Application Deadlines and Fees

To ensure a smooth application process, be sure to consult the Minnesota Board of Bar Examiners website for information on deadlines and fees. Generally, applicants are encouraged to submit their applications at least four weeks prior to the exam date. The fee for the exam is $250, but be aware that late applications may be subject to additional fees. Staying informed and timely with your application process increases your chances of securing a spot for the exam.

Subjects Tested on the Minnesota Bar Exam

The Minnesota Bar Exam covers a range of subjects, including:

  • Business Associations

  • Civil Procedure

  • Ethics

  • Family Law

  • Federal Taxation

  • Contracts

  • Criminal Law

  • Constitutional Law

  • Evidence

  • Real Property

  • Torts

Acquiring a deep knowledge of these subjects is fundamental for excelling in the exam and your impending legal career in Minnesota.

Devoting ample time to each subject during your bar exam preparation will ensure that you are well-equipped to tackle the exam and ultimately pass the Minnesota Bar Exam.

Passing the Minnesota Bar Exam

Achieving success on the Minnesota Bar Exam is a significant milestone on your journey to becoming a lawyer in the state. Comprehending the scoring system and the minimum passing score is crucial to evaluate your performance on the exam and spot areas that require improvement. With dedication and perseverance, you’ll be one step closer to realizing your dream of practicing law in Minnesota.

Scoring System

The Minnesota Bar Exam follows the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) scoring system. The UBE is comprised of multiple components, including the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). In the scoring process, the MBE counts for 50% of the overall score, while the MEE constitutes 30%.

Additionally, the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) accounts for the remaining 20% of your score. Familiarizing yourself with this scoring system, including the concept of a scaled score, will help you better understand your exam performance and strategize your study plan accordingly.

Minimum Passing Score

In order to pass the Minnesota Bar Exam, you must achieve a minimum score of 260 out of a possible 400 points. Striving to exceed this minimum score not only increases your chances of passing the exam but also demonstrates your competence and dedication to the legal profession.

With a strong study plan and effective time management strategies, you’ll be well-prepared to surpass this minimum score and embark on your legal career in Minnesota.

Character and Fitness Evaluation

An important aspect of the bar admission process is the character and fitness evaluation. This evaluation seeks to ensure that those admitted to the bar, who have successfully passed the examination and applicant received the necessary approval, possess the requisite competence and character to practice law.

Paragraph 2: Maintaining transparency about your past and showcasing good character throughout the evaluation process will prepare you better to meet this crucial requirement and eventually enter the legal profession in Minnesota.

Evaluation Process

The character and fitness evaluation process involves:

  • A thorough background check and investigation into your character and fitness to practice law

  • The Minnesota Board of Law Examiners conducting this investigation

  • The possibility of being requested to participate in a Character and Fitness Interview

It is important to approach the evaluation process with honesty and transparency, as it is your professional responsibility to prove your good character and fitness to practice law.

Besides offering precise information about your past conduct, being ready to answer any queries the evaluator may have about your background is imperative. Demonstrating your commitment to professionalism and ethical conduct throughout the evaluation process will not only increase your chances of passing the character and fitness evaluation but also set the stage for a successful legal career in Minnesota.

Overcoming Past Issues

Confronting past issues and showcasing rehabilitation is a key part of the character and fitness evaluation process. This involves acknowledging your mistakes, understanding the consequences of your actions, and taking responsibility for your past conduct. By showing genuine remorse and a commitment to personal growth, you can effectively overcome past issues and demonstrate your good character to the evaluators.

Seeking guidance from a trusted advisor or mentor who is well-versed in the character and fitness evaluation process can also prove invaluable during this time. They can provide you with insights, advice, and support as you navigate the process and work to demonstrate your good character and fitness to practice law. By taking responsibility for your past actions and displaying a commitment to personal development, you can successfully overcome past issues and gain admission to the Minnesota State Bar.

Admission to the Minnesota State Bar

Once you have successfully completed the bar exam and character and fitness evaluation, the final step in your journey to becoming a lawyer in Minnesota is admission to the state bar. This involves taking the oath of office and understanding the requirements for bar membership and continuing legal education.

By fulfilling these requirements and maintaining your commitment to professional growth, you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding legal career in Minnesota.

Oath of Office

The oath of office is a formal ceremony in which new attorneys pledge to uphold the law and the Constitution. Administered by the Clerk of Appellate Courts, the oath symbolizes the beginning of your legal career and your commitment to ethical practice.

Taking the oath of office marks the culmination of your journey through law school education, bar exam preparation, and character and fitness evaluation, signifying your readiness to practice law in Minnesota.

Being a part of the Minnesota State Bar necessitates staying updated with legal knowledge and sustaining your proficiency in the field. To achieve this, attorneys are required to complete 45 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits every three years, including 3 ethics credits and 2 elimination of bias credits. Fulfilling these requirements ensures that you stay informed of changes in the law and continue to provide the highest level of service to your clients.

Attorneys can complete these CLE credits through various methods, such as attending seminars, participating in online courses, or engaging in self-study programs. By prioritizing your professional development and staying current with legal trends and changes, you’ll be better equipped to serve your clients and succeed in your legal career in Minnesota.

Alternative Paths to Becoming a Lawyer in Minnesota

In addition to the traditional path of completing law school, passing the bar exam, and undergoing a character and fitness evaluation, there are alternative routes to becoming a lawyer in Minnesota. These include reciprocity and temporary licenses, which can offer valuable opportunities for those who meet specific criteria.

Investigating these alternative routes can present new opportunities for your legal career in the state.


Reciprocity is an option for attorneys licensed in another jurisdiction who wish to practice law in Minnesota. If you meet certain requirements, such as having an active law practice for a specified period or having a qualifying MBE score, you may be eligible to practice law in the state without taking the Minnesota Bar Exam.

By demonstrating your competence and good character, you can pursue a successful legal career in Minnesota through the path of reciprocity.

Temporary Licenses

Temporary licenses, such as temporary house counsel licenses or temporary licenses for legal services programs, offer another alternative route to practicing law in Minnesota. These licenses allow you to practice law in the state under specific conditions and for a limited period of time. By meeting the eligibility criteria and obtaining a temporary license, you can gain valuable experience and expand your legal career opportunities in Minnesota.


Becoming a lawyer in Minnesota is a challenging and rewarding journey, involving law school education, bar exam preparation, character and fitness evaluations, and ultimately, admission to the state bar. By understanding the various steps and requirements, as well as exploring alternative paths to licensure, you can successfully navigate the process and embark on a fulfilling legal career in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many years does it take to become a lawyer in Minnesota?

It typically takes around 7 to 8 years to become a lawyer in Minnesota.

Do you have to go to law school to take the bar in Minnesota?

Yes, you must be a graduate of an ABA-approved law school to be eligible to sit for the Minnesota state bar exam, unless you are already a licensed lawyer elsewhere.

What are the requirements to practice law in Minnesota?

To practice law in Minnesota, one must score a 145 or higher on the MBE, have taken the exam within the last two years, or waive into the bar as an experienced attorney.

What is the fastest time to become a lawyer?

The fastest way to become a lawyer is by selecting an accelerated J.D. program, which can be completed in two years, or enrolling in a Master of Legal Studies program and graduating within 12 months with an undergraduate degree and passing the GRE beforehand.

What are the key courses to focus on during law school in Minnesota?

To succeed in law school in Minnesota, it is important to focus on Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.

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