Bar Information for International Lawyers

An LL.M. degree does not make foreign lawyers eligible to practice law in the U.S. Each U.S. state regulates the admission of attorneys to the practice of law within its jurisdiction. The requirements for bar admission vary from state to state and are complex. A foreign LL.M. student who plans to take a U.S. state bar exam must carefully investigate the relevant requirements prior to beginning their studies.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to read the information provided by the Board of Legal Examiners in the state where they want to take the bar exam. It is also the applicant’s responsibility to contact that state’s Board of Legal Examiners with any questions, submit all documents and fees in a timely manner, and complete any U.S. law courses required by that state’s Board of Legal Examiners. Each state has final authority to determine whether an applicant meets the requirements to sit its bar examination.

Traditionally, the two most common and easily accessible bar exams for foreign lawyers have been in California and New York. However, the Texas Board of Legal Examiners changed its qualifying rules in 2014 and established itself as one of the three most easily accessible bars for foreign lawyers. Many states have also adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (“UBE”), which allows successful bar takers to apply to transfer their license between UBE states.