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ALABAMA STATE BAR ADMISSION OFFICE

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


The following questions are frequently asked about admission to the Alabama State Bar. Each of the questions is linked to the corresponding answer. For complete information, please refer to the Alabama Supreme Court Rules Governing Admission to the Bar as well as corresponding areas of this website.

No information provided on this website overrides, waives, or amends the provisions of the rules and regulations.

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General Questions


- Are there rules related to admission to the Alabama State Bar?
- What are the different types of admission to the Alabama State Bar?
- What is the significance of the different application fee categories?
- If I am in a fee category that requires me to pay a separate additional fee to NCBE, how do I find out the amount of that fee?
- Are there time restrictions on the validity of my MPRE score?
- Are all applicants for admission to the Alabama State Bar required to have an NCBE Number?

Application Procedures


- What items are required to be submitted in hard copy to the Admissions Office?
- If a hard copy is not required, how should I submit a requested item?
- Are there any restrictions on who may submit an Attorney Affidavit on my behalf?
- If I have held driver’s licenses in multiple states, must I submit a driving record abstract from each state?
- Can I request a copy of my application?
- How frequently should I login to the Admissions website (online application system)?
- What is the acceptable format of a graduation certificate?
- Are applicants required to provide proof of college (pre-legal) education?

Bar Exam Application


- What are the admission requirements for someone seeking admission by examination?
- What is the deadline to submit an application for admission by examination?
- Who is eligible to file a Bar Exam Re-application?
- Will I forfeit my application fee if I decide to withdraw from the bar examination?
- If I have taken and failed the Alabama bar examination, do I have to re-take all portions?
- Are graduates of unaccredited law schools eligible to sit for the Alabama bar examination?
- Are graduates of law schools outside the United States prohibited from sitting for the Alabama bar examination?
- What must I do to request special testing accommodations on the bar examination?
- Does Alabama accept Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) score transfers from other states?
- Does Alabama accept essay score transfers from other states?
- When are bar examination results released?
- Will I be provided my bar examination scores?
- Will I be able to review my bar examination papers after results are released?
- Does the Board of Bar Examiners conduct re-grades of bar exams?
- What is the online course on Alabama law?

Bar Exam Administration


- When is the bar examination administered?
- What items should I bring to the bar examination?
- Can I take the essay portion of the bar examination on a laptop computer?
- Is there a limit to the number of times I can take the Alabama bar examination?

UBE Score Transfer


- Does Alabama administer the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE)?
- What does it mean to be a UBE jurisdiction?
- What are the requirements to transfer a UBE score earned in another jurisdiction?
- Is there an MPRE requirement if I am seeking admission by transfer of a UBE score?

Reciprocity


- What are the requirements for being admitted to the Alabama State Bar by reciprocity from another jurisdiction?
- Which jurisdictions does Alabama have reciprocity with?
- Can I apply for reciprocal admission if I have not been admitted in a state that has reciprocity with Alabama?
- Is there an MPRE requirement if I am seeking admission by reciprocity?

Character & Fitness


- Are all applications reviewed by the Committee on Character & Fitness?
- Is the determination of an applicant’s character and fitness made before or after the bar examination is administered?
- Must all applicants for admission to the Alabama State Bar appear personally before the Committee on Character & Fitness?

Law Student Registration


- Who is required to register as a law student with the Alabama State Bar?
- Is there a penalty for non-registration as a law student?
- Do I have to pay the law student non-registration fee, even if I never had any intention of seeking admission to the Alabama State Bar?
- What are the requirements for participating in the Alabama Legal Internship (i.e., receiving a “third year practice card”)?

General Questions


Are there rules related to admission to the Alabama State Bar?

Yes. The admissions process in Alabama is governed by the Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama State Bar (“Rules”). The Rules are promulgated by the Supreme Court of Alabama and administered by the Admissions Office of the Alabama State Bar. The Admissions Office does not have the authority to grant a waiver or exception to any rule.

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What are the different types of admission to the Alabama State Bar?

Individuals may be admitted to the Alabama State Bar in three ways: (1) by examination; (2) without examination by transfer of an acceptable Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) score; and (3) without examination through reciprocity.

The Admissions Office also processes applications for registration as a law student.

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What is the significance of the different application fee categories?

Even though the Alabama State Bar (ASB) application fee is the same for many of the application fee categories, there are distinctions within each category with respect to separate additional fees owed to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). Thus, an applicant should carefully review the fee categories to see if they must pay only the ASB application fee or both the ASB application fee and the separate additional NCBE fee. NCBE Fee Schedule and Payment Instructions

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If I am in a fee category that requires me to pay a separate additional fee to NCBE, how do I find out the amount of that fee?

The separate additional NCBE fee schedule can be found by using the NCBE Fee Schedule and Payment Instructions.

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Are there time restrictions on the validity of my MPRE score?

The passing MPRE score in Alabama is 75 and an MPRE score is valid for a period of 25 months from the date of administration of the MPRE in which the score was earned.  For exam applicants, if the Alabama bar examination is taken and passed, but the applicant does not yet have a valid MPRE score, he or she has 25 months from the date of the passed Alabama bar examination to satisfy the MPRE requirement. [Rule VI(B).E.].


Applicants seeking admission by reciprocity must show proof of an MPRE score of 75 or higher. There is no timeframe in which the score must be earned. [Rule III.A.(1)(j)].

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Are all applicants for admission to the Alabama State Bar required to have an NCBE Number?

Yes. The NCBE Number is used for a number of purposes, including the identification of the applicant on examination materials. Applicants can request NCBE Numbers using the NCBE Number Request website.

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Application Procedures


What items are required to be submitted in hard copy to the Admissions Office?

Exam Applicants: Bar Examination Application Paper Items Packet, undergraduate transcripts (only applies to applicants of non-approved law schools), and Reasonable Testing Accommodations Questionnaire (only applies to applicants requesting special testing accommodations).

UBE Score Transfer Applicants: UBE Score Transfer Application Paper Items Packet.

Reciprocity Applicants: Reciprocity Application Paper Items Packet.

In addition to the items listed above, which are submitted by the applicant, the applicant should also request third parties to submit the following items in hard copy: certificate of graduation from the applicant’s law school and three (3) Attorney Affidavits from attorneys who have been licensed to practice law in a jurisdiction for at least five (5) years.

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If a hard copy is not required, how should I submit a requested item?

Any item that is not required in hard copy should be uploaded using the applicants user home page.

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Are there any restrictions on who may submit an Attorney Affidavit on my behalf?

Yes. An attorney submitting an Attorney Affidavit on behalf of an applicant must have been continuously licensed to practice law for 5 years in a jurisdiction. The Attorney Affidavit must certify the attorney-affiant’s relationship to the applicant and whether the affiant’s appraisal of the applicant is based upon personal knowledge or upon inquiry. Thus, even though an applicant may not know an attorney that meets the requirements, the applicant may introduce himself/herself to a qualified attorney for inquiry.

While the Admissions Office provides an Attorney Affidavit form, attorney-affiants may create their own affidavit in compliance with Rule II.D.

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If I have held driver’s licenses in multiple states, must I submit a driving record abstract from each state?

Yes. You must submit a complete driver record from every state where you have held a driver’s license in the past ten (10) years. The only exception to this is that a re-applicant for the bar examination is only required to submit a driving record from any state where the re-applicant has been licensed since the previous application or re-application filed by the re-applicant.

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Can I request a copy of my application?

The Admissions Office does not provide copies of applications. Any application entered on the online application system can be reviewed by logging in and viewing the Application History.

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How frequently should I login to the Admissions website (online application system)?

You should make it a habit of logging into the Admissions website. Important announcements for all applicants, as well as information and requests of individual applicants are posted on the site. The Admissions Office will primarily communicate with applicants through the site and applicants should login to the site to communicate with the Admissions Office.

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What is the acceptable format of a graduation certificate?

Refer to the Graduation Certificate Information Guide for this information.

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Are applicants required to provide proof of college (pre-legal) education?

If an applicant did not graduate from a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) or the American Association of Law Schools (AALS), then he or she must show proof of pre-legal education. [Rule IV.B.(1)]

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Bar Exam Application


What are the admission requirements for someone seeking admission by examination?

The Alabama Bar Examination consists of the Uniform Bar Examination (Multistate Essay Examination, Multistate Performance Test, and Multistate Bar Examination). Applicants who are certified and take the Alabama Bar Examination must meet the following admission requirements:

  • Achieve a passing score of 260 or higher on the Alabama Bar Examination;
  • Successfully complete (score of 75 or higher) the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) within the timeframe prescribed by the Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama State Bar (see Rule VI(B).E.); and
  • Complete the online course on Alabama law (access to online course granted approximately 7-10 after bar exam for those who sit for exam).
  • Recieive approval of the Committee on Character & Fitness.

 

Note: An exam applicant who passes the Alabama bar examination has 25 months from the date of administration of the passed bar exam in order to satisfy the other requirements for admission listed above.

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What is the deadline to submit an application for admission by examination?

The application period for the February Bar Examination opens on September 1st and the deadline for the Admissions Office to receive the application is October 1st.

The application period for the July Bar Examination opens on January 1st and the deadline for the Admissions Office to receive the application is February 1st.

These deadlines are set by the Supreme Court in the Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama State Bar. [Rule II.C.]. The Alabama State Bar does not have the authority to grant any waiver or exception to the filing deadlines.

Note: Applicants who fail an administration of the bar examination will be given an opportunity to apply for the subsequent administration of the exam once results have been released. [Rule II.E.]

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Who is eligible to file a Bar Exam Re-application?

Applicants for admission by examination may submit the Re-application if the following eligibility requirements are met:

  • Applicant has taken the Alabama Bar Examination within the past five (5) years; and

  • Applicant has not applied for admission or taken the bar examination in another jurisdiction since filing his/her last application to take the Alabama Bar Examination.

  • Unless otherwise noted in the re-application process, all requirements, fees, and deadlines for the re-application are the same as those for the standard bar exam application.
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Will I forfeit my application fee if I decide to withdraw from the bar examination?

In order to avoid forfeiture of your bar examination application fee, you must properly withdraw from the exam on or before the seventh day prior to the bar examination. Proper withdrawal includes filing the notice of withdrawal and paying the withdrawal administrative fee ($100). If this is done, the application fee may be carried forward to the next examination only. (Example: An applicant for the July 2017 bar exam may withdraw and carry forward the application fee to the February 2018 bar exam only.  If the application fee is not used (i.e., the applicant sits for the exam) during the July 2017 bar exam or the February 2018 bar exam, the fee is forfeited). [Rule II.F.]

Note: Application fees are non-refundable.

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If I have taken and failed the Alabama bar examination, do I have to re-take all portions?

Not necessarily. If you have taken and failed the Alabama bar examination, but score a 140 or higher on either the MBE or the essay portion (MPT + MEE), then you may elect to be exempt from the portion on which you made a 140 or higher. The carry forward score of 140 or higher must be used on a subsequent Alabama bar examination within 25 months from the date of the bar exam when the score was earned. [Rule VI(B).C.(3) and Rule VI(B).C.(4)]

Note: A carried forward MBE or essay score cannot be used to earn a transferrable UBE score.

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Are graduates of unaccredited law schools eligible to sit for the Alabama bar examination?

In order to sit for the Alabama bar examination, an applicant of a U.S. law school must graduate from a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). The current exception to this rule is that graduates of non-ABA approved law schools in Alabama (Birmingham School of Law, Miles Law School, and Jones School of Law graduates before /June 11, 2006) are eligible to apply to sit for the Alabama bar examination. [Rule IV.B.(2)]

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Are graduates of law schools outside the United States prohibited from sitting for the Alabama bar examination?

No. A foreign law school graduate may be eligible to sit for the Alabama bar examination. [Rule IV.B.(2)(d)]

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What must I do to request special testing accommodations on the bar examination?

Applicants requesting special testing accommodations on the Alabama Bar Examination must indicate the request on the Bar Exam application. In addition, the applicant must submit all required accommodations documentation to the Admissions Office by the deadline. See BAR EXAM INFO > Special Accommodations

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Does Alabama accept Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) score transfers from other states?

Yes. Alabama will accept an MBE score earned in another jurisdiction if the MBE score is 140 or higher and the applicant requesting transfer of the MBE score has been admitted in the jurisdiction where the score was earned. A transferred MBE score is valid for a period of 25 months from the date of the bar exam when the MBE score was earned. [Rule VI(B).C.(2)]

Note: A transferred MBE score cannot be used to earn a transferrable UBE score.

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Does Alabama accept essay score transfers from other states?

No.

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When are bar examination results released?

Bar examination results are released approximately 8 – 9 weeks after administration of the bar examination.

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Will I be provided my bar examination scores?

All examinees are furnished the following information upon the release of bar exam results: the examinee's MBE scaled score, total scaled score on written examinations (MEE and MPT), total UBE scaled score, and the raw score on each question on the MEE and the MPT. [Rule VI(B).B.(3)]

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Will I be able to review my bar examination papers after results are released?

If you fail the bar examination, you will be given an opportunity to review your essay answers, along with the top 3 essay answers for each question. Bar examination review procedures are included with the information sent to those examinees who failed the bar examination. [Rule VI(B).B.(3)]

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Does the Board of Bar Examiners conduct re-grades of bar exams?

No.

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What is the online course on Alabama law?

The online course on Alabama law is an online video course set, which is an admission requirement for exam applicants and applicants for admission by transfer of UBE score. [Rule VI(B).A.(3)] The course consists of eight (8) online learning modules covering the following subjects: Alabama Constitution; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Civil Litigation; Criminal Law; Family Law; Real Property; Torts; and Wills & Trusts/Probate. Completion of all online learning modules contained in the course is a requirement for admission to the Alabama State Bar.

Bar Examination applicants will be given access to the course approximately 7 – 10 days after administration of the bar examination. UBE Score Transfer applicants are given access to the course after a complete application is submitted and approved by the Committee on Character & Fitness.

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Bar Exam Administration


When is the bar examination administered?

The MBE is administered on the last Wednesday of February and the last Wednesday of July. The essay portion of the Alabama bar examination (MPT + MEE) is administered on the Tuesday before the MBE.

Upcoming Bar Examination Dates

 

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What items should I bring to the bar examination?

The Examinee Information Guide lists required and prohibited items for the bar examination. If an item is not specifically listed, please contact the Admissions Office to determine whether or not the item is allowed at the bar examination.

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Can I take the essay portion of the bar examination on a laptop computer?

Yes, all applicants have the option of taking the essay portion of the bar examination on a laptop computer. See BAR EXAM INFO > Laptop Testing

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Is there a limit to the number of times I can take the Alabama bar examination?

No. [Rule IV.C.]

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UBE Score Transfer


Does Alabama administer the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE)?

Yes. The Alabama Bar Examination consists of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). The UBE consists of three multistate testing components: the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE); the Multistate Performance Test (MPT); and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). There is no other testing component on the Alabama Bar Examination. [Rule VI(B).A.(1)]

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What does it mean to be a UBE jurisdiction?

While there are many specifics related to being a “UBE jurisdiction,” the commonality of all UBE jurisdictions is that they uniformly administer, grade, and score the UBE and the result is a portable UBE score. In all UBE jurisdiction, the same exam (UBE) is administered on the same days in substantially similar testing conditions. Each UBE jurisdiction sets its own passing score and other admission requirements. An applicant seeking admission in a UBE jurisdiction must only satisfy that jurisdiction’s admission requirements. Thus, the applicant must only earn a UBE score that is a passing score in that jurisdiction, even though it may not have been a passing score in the jurisdiction where the applicant took the UBE.

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What are the requirements to transfer a UBE score earned in another jurisdiction?

In order to be eligible for admission in Alabama by transfer of a UBE score, the score must have been earned in a single administration of the UBE, the score must be 260 or higher, and the admission of the applicant must be finalized within 25 months of the date the transferred score was earned. In addition, the applicant must satisfy all other admission requirements including, but not limited to, satisfaction of the MPRE requirement, completion of the online course on Alabama law, and certification by the Committee on Character & Fitness. [Rule VI(B).C.(6)]

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Is there an MPRE requirement if I am seeking admission by transfer of a UBE score?

Yes. The MPRE passing score in Alabama is 75. For applicants seeking admission by transfer of UBE score, the MPRE requirement cannot be satisfied outside the 25 months preceding the date of the administration of the UBE when the transferred UBE score was earned. Otherwise, the MPRE requirement must be satisfied before expiration of the UBE score. [Rule VI(B).E.]

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Reciprocity


What are the requirements for being admitted to the Alabama State Bar by reciprocity from another jurisdiction?

Individuals interested in seeking admission to the Alabama State Bar by reciprocity should review the Reciprocity Eligibility & Admission Requirements.

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Which jurisdictions does Alabama have reciprocity with?

Reciprocal Jurisdictions.

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Can I apply for reciprocal admission if I have not been admitted in a state that has reciprocity with Alabama?

Yes. Reciprocity applicants who have not been admitted in a state that has reciprocity with Alabama must also submit the Certificate of Jurisdictional Reciprocity. Depending on the information provided by the jurisdiction where the applicant is admitted, the Alabama State Bar will determine whether or not to grant admission by reciprocity.

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Is there an MPRE requirement if I am seeking admission by reciprocity?

Yes. Reciprocity applicants must have achieved an MPRE score of 75 or higher. There is no time limitation on when the MPRE score must have been earned. [Rule III.A.(1)(j)]

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Character & Fitness


Are all applications reviewed by the Committee on Character & Fitness?

Yes. While much administrative work on an application is performed by Admissions Office staff, the final approval or disapproval of each application is by the Committee on Character & Fitness. [Rule V.B.]

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Is the determination of an applicant’s character and fitness made before or after the bar examination is administered?

Some applicants will concurrently receive certification to sit for the bar exam and certification of character and fitness. For applicants who are required to appear in person for a hearing before the Committee on Character & Fitness, the hearing will only be held if the applicant passes the bar exam. In all cases, however, the Committee on Character & Fitness retains jurisdiction over the applicant until the time that he or she is admitted to the practice of law. Therefore, all applicants are required to disclose any incidents or changes to the application at all times prior to admission, even after certification to sit for the bar examination has been issued. [Rule V.B.]

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Must all applicants for admission to the Alabama State Bar appear personally before the Committee on Character & Fitness?

No. Upon review of an application, the Committee on Character and fitness may require the personal appearance of the applicant. If the personal appearance of the applicant is required, the applicant will be notified of his or her hearing date/time approximately 3 – 4 weeks prior to the hearing. [Rule V.B.]

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Law Student Registration


Who is required to register as a law student with the Alabama State Bar?

Any individual who may seek (or is seeking) admission to the Alabama State Bar must register as a law student or pay the penalty for non-registration. [Rule I.A.]

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Is there a penalty for non-registration as a law student?

Yes. Registration as a law student is required within the first 60 days of the commencement of law school. If the registration is not received within this timeframe, a late registration penalty applies. The amount of the late registration penalty is determined based on the number of days that have passed between the commencement of law school and the filing of the law student registration. [Rule I.A.]

If an applicant for admission has not filed the law student registration by the time of applying for admission, he or she should not simultaneously file the law student registration with the application for admission. Instead, the applicant will be required to pay the law student non-registration fee in addition to the application fee.

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Do I have to pay the law student non-registration fee, even if I never had any intention of seeking admission to the Alabama State Bar?

Yes. All applicants for admission (examination, UBE score transfer, and reciprocity) must pay the law student non-registration fee at the time of application, regardless of whether or not they have had any connection to Alabama or whether or not they ever had intention to apply for admission to the Alabama State Bar. [Rule I and Rule IV.A.]

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What are the requirements for participating in the Alabama Legal Internship (i.e., receiving a “third year practice card”)?

One prerequisite of participation in the Alabama Legal Internship is that the Alabama State Bar has issued certification of a law student registration application. After the certification is received by the student, then the student must comply with all provisions of the Alabama Rule for Legal Internship by Law Students and file the required forms for participation as a legal intern. The Rule and forms can be viewed here.

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