Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

North Carolina State Bar

by Armistead Jones Maupin, 2006

Cover of the North Carolina State Bar's 2011 handbook. Image from the North Carolina Historic Sites.The North Carolina State Bar was created by the General Assembly in 1933 as an agency of the state. Its purpose is to render more effective service and improve administrative justice, particularly in matters pertaining to bar admission as well as disciplining and disbarring attorneys-at-law. No person other than a member of the State Bar may participate in the proceedings of any North Carolina court or otherwise engage in the practice of law.

The government of the State Bar is vested in a council, which is elected by the bar members from the state's various judicial districts. The council, in turn, elects the officers of the State Bar. To practice law in North Carolina, applicants must pass an examination, then be licensed by the Board of Law Examiners, which is appointed by the council. The council also promulgates and enforces rules of professional conduct.




Additional Resources:

North Carolina State Bar website: (accessed November 15, 2012).

North Carolina State Bar Journal. (accessed November 15, 2012).

North Carolina State Bar. North Carolina State Bar lawyer's handbook. 1995-present.,234533 (accessed November 15, 2012).

"An Act to Provide for the Organization as an Agency of the State of North Carolina of The North Carolina State Bar, and for its Regulation, Powers, and Government, Including the Admission of Lawyers to Practice and Their Discipline and Disbarment." Public laws and resolutions passed by the General Assembly at its session of 1933. Charlotte [N.C.]: The Observer Printing House, Inc.1933. p.313-324.,241717 (accessed November 15, 2012).

"North Carolina State Bar." Martindale-Hubbell. LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. (accessed November 15, 2012).

North Carolina State Bar: final commission report. Raleigh, N.C.: Governmental Evaluation Commission. 1980.

"Proposed act to incorporate the Bar of North Carolina: approved by the North Carolina Bar Association, Asheville Meeting, 1932." Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards & Broughton Co. 1932.

Image Credits:

North Carolina State Bar. North Carolina State Bar lawyer's handbook. 1995-present.,234533 (accessed November 15, 2012).



I had no idea the bar exam was created so long ago! Does the exam change from year to year or is it periodically updated? I didn't know that every state had it's own exam, do you have to pass the test in each state in order to practice law there?

Luke | <a href='' ></a>


Hi Luke,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and taking the time to post a comment on this entry for the North Carolina State Bar.  

Each state has its own requirements for licensing lawyers and admitting them to the state bar.  You might find some helpful information about the process across the country on the website at

You can also find additional information about the North Carolina bar exam on the North Carolina State Bar website at and on the website for the Board of Law Examiners of the State of North Carolina (this is the organization that administers the bar exam).

Thanks for your post!

Kelly Agan, NCpedia staff, Government & Heritage Library

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at