Here's how to navigate the application for admission to the Maryland bar.
In order to practice law in Maryland, you must graduate from an accredited law school, successfully pass a professional licensing bar exam, and have the requisite "good moral character and fitness" to practice in this state. By having you complete a comprehensive and exhaustive application for admission, lawyers (who serve on character committees as volunteers) determine initially whether you, as an applicant, have the requisite character and fitness to be a member of the Maryland bar. You have the burden of proving this, so you must be fully responsive to the questions asked and timely provide all the required documents.
You will complete the application for admission electronically through the State Board of Law Examiners' website. You also will submit a hard copy of the application and supporting documents by mail or in person to the Board. (If mailing, it's recommended that you request that the postal service or private delivery service obtain a receipt acknowledging delivery.)
"Good moral character is 'denoted by those qualities of truth-speaking, of a high sense of honor, of granite discretion, [and] of the strictest observance of fiduciary responsibility.'"
- The Matter of the Application of T.Z-A.O for the Admission of the Bar, 441 Md. 65, 105 A.3d 492 (2014).
The application for admission requests information on a number of topics, including your educational and job history, where you have lived, past legal proceedings, and any outstanding debts. It also requires you to provide references. The application can take many hours to complete, so give yourself plenty of time to gather necessary documents, contact relevant parties, and fill out the application.
The application also requires you to "certify your prelegal education" you may (and this method is preferred) have your undergraduate institution directly submit an official transcript to the Bar Examiners. (Note: the law school, as indicated on the FAQ page, is unable to certify your prelegal education and will not complete this form for you.)
In addition to completing your application, you will most likely file simultaneously the "petition to take the bar exam." This petition certifies that you have graduated from a law school approved by the ABA prior to taking the bar examination. You may submit this form in good faith if you are submitting it in the month prior to graduation (e.g., submitting your bar application in May but you do not actually graduate until June when degrees are officially conferred). (Note: you will also be required to officially submit a final transcript to the Board that reflects that you were awarded a juris doctorate degree.)
The application fees and deadlines for applying to take a particular exam in either February or July are available seasonally relative to a particular exam administration. Application information for the next upcoming exam will be posted here as it becomes available from the State Board of Law Examiners.
If you have additional questions, you may contact Professor Neal Kempler, Director of Bar Success.