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South Dakota Bar Exam Information

  • About the Bar Exam

    South Dakota is a two-day exam that takes place on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. The first day consists of the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE®), an Indian law question, and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®). Wednesday consists of the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE®).

  • Contact Information

    South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners

    500 E. Capitol Avenue Pierre, SD 57501

    Phone: 605-224-7554

  • Bar Exam Format

    Two-Day exam:

    • Day 1 – Written Portion: AM: 5 MEE® essays and 1 Indian Law essay; PM: 2 MPT®s
    • Day 2 – MBE®: AM: 200 multiple choice questions; PM: 200 multiple choice questions
  • Subjects Tested

    Business Associations (Agency and Partnership; Corporations and Limited Liability Companies), Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Indian Law, Real Property, Torts, Trusts and Estates (Decedents' Estates; Trusts and Future Interests), and Uniform Commercial Code (Secured Transactions).

  • Bar Exam Dates

    • July 26-27, 2022
    • February 21-22, 2023
  • Grading

    The written portion of the exam accounts for 50% of the overall score. The MPT® portion is 20%, the five MEE® essays are 25%, and the one Indian Law essay is worth 5%. The MBE® is worth 50% of the overall score. A general average of 75% or higher on the combined MEE®, Indian Law, and MPT® written portion of the exam will be deemed passing for that portion of the exam. A scaled score of 133 or higher will be deemed a passing score on the MBE® portion of the exam.

  • MPRE®

    A minimum passing scaled score of 85 or higher is required on the MPRE®.

  • Reciprocity

    In its discretion, the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners may accept an applicant’s previous scores on the MBE®, administered in another jurisdiction, if taken within two years prior to the next scheduled examination, if the score on the MBE® is a scaled score of 135 or above and if the applicant passed the entire bar exam in the other jurisdiction.

    An applicant may be eligible for admission without examination if the applicant: meets the requirements of SDCL 16-16-2; furnishes satisfactory evidence of graduation from an ABA accredited law school, and provides documentary evidence showing that for three of the last five years immediately preceding the application for admission without examination, the applicant, as principal occupation, has been actively, continuously, and lawfully engaged in the practice of law, in a state or states that allow South Dakota attorneys substantially similar admission without examination, as: 1) a sole practitioner; 2) a member of a law firm, professional corporation or association; 3) a judge in a court of record; 4) an attorney for any local or state governmental entity; 5) inside counsel for a corporation, agency, association or trust department; and/or, 6) an attorney with the federal government or a federal governmental agency including service as a member of the Judge Advocate General Department of one of the military branches of the United States.

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