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The bar refers to the collective of all lawyers qualified to practice in a given court or jurisdiction. Every state has its own set of requirements for admitting a person into their jurisdiction’s bar. In general, a person must satisfy a state’s admissions requirements such as earning a Juris Doctor degree, passing a professional responsibility examination, passing the bar examination, and having their character and fitness evaluated. 

Even though judges are a part of the bar, they are often referred to as “the bench” and the lawyers representing clients in court are referred to as “the bar.”

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]