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

Can a foreign-educated lawyer practice law in the United States?
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 and be admitted in 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 the bar examination in most states.

Eligibility requirements vary from state to state and may include:

  1. Completion of a U.S. LL.M. degree at an ABA-accredited school.
  2. Completion of specific courses within an LL.M.  program.
  3. Practice in their home country for a specific period of time.

Students considering taking a bar examination 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.  

Information on bar eligibility requirements and an overview of the bar admission process is available at:

  1. American Bar Association,  http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/
    bar_admissions/basic_overview.html
  2. National Conference of Bar Examiners, A Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements  (2013),  http://www.ncbex.org/
  3.  Texas Bar Examination,   www.ble.state.tx.us.