Frequently Asked Questions - Bar Examination Options for Non-US Educated Attorneys 

Is a foreign-educated lawyer eligible to take a bar examination?
The answer is "yes" and "no."  To practice law in the United States, both US-educated lawyers and foreign-trained lawyers must pass the bar examination of the state in which they intend to practice.  Each state establishes requirements for eligibility to take the bar examination in that state.  Foreign-trained lawyers are not eligible to take a bar examination in most states.

Eligibility requirements vary from state to state.

  1.  Some states require completion of a U.S. LL.M. degree at an ABA-accredited school.
  2. In addition to the U.S. LL.M. degree, some states require that the lawyer have practiced in their home country for a specific period of time.
  3. A state may have rules about what foreign counties and law schools are eligible.
  4. Eligibility may require the completion of specific courses within an LL.M. program.
  5. The rules may change over time.

The American Bar Association provides an overview of the bar admission process at:
http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/
resources/bar_admissions/basic_overview.html

 

Additional information:

  1. Texas Bar Examination,   www.ble.state.tx.us.
  2. Foreign-educated lawyers often meet the eligibility requirements for the New York bar examination, http://www.nybarexam.org
  3. A Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements (2013) , published  by the National Conference of Bar Examiners/American Bar Association,   provides a state-by-state guide to eligibility requirements, http://www.ncbex.org/

Students who are considering taking a bar examination upon completion of their LL.M. studies should review eligibility requirements and confirm eligibility requirements before beginning any LL.M. program.  Only a state's board of law examiners – not a law school - can confirm eligibility to take a state's bar examination.