Admission to practice law
An admission to practice law is acquired when a lawyer receives a license to practice law. In jurisdictions with two types of lawyer, as with barristers and solicitors, barristers must gain admission to the bar whereas for solicitors there are distinct practising certificates.
Becoming a lawyer is a widely varied process around the world. Common to all jurisdictions are requirements of age and competence; some jurisdictions also require documentation of citizenship or immigration status. However, the most varied requirements are those surrounding the preparation for the license, whether it includes obtaining a law degree, passing an exam, or serving in an apprenticeship. In English, admission is also called a law license. Basic requirements vary from country to country, as described below.
In some jurisdictions, after admission the lawyer needs to maintain a current practising certificate to be permitted to offer services to the public.
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The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with Kenya and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (February 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The African Union comprises all 55 countries on the Continent of Africa. It is probably best to seek out each specific nation for its qualifications as each can vary widely between them. So long as you hold a legal education, often it is straightforward. However, most often the biggest obstacle is residency for foreign educated lawyers.
To earn a law license, applicants must have Egyptian nationality, full civil capacity, not have any disciplinary findings against them, and be of good conduct and reputation. They are required to earn a law degree from an Egyptian university or a degree from a foreign university which is considered equivalent under Egyptian law, pass a medical examination to ensure fitness for the practice of the profession, and pay the registration fees and annual subscriptions required by law. After an applicant obtains a law degree, he or she must then undertake two years of practical training as a trainee lawyer and plead a minimum of 25 cases. Following the completion of the training period, the applicant must obtain the recommendation of the president of the lowest court and members of the local bar association to be admitted as a lawyer.
Namibia has a detailed act that fully delineates the requisites to be a Legal Practitioner. Generally, citizenship or extensive residency is required.
The Bar of Niger is very small, despite a population of 17 million people, Niger only has 130 lawyers, of which 13 are women. Requirements to be a lawyer are not easily ascertained.
One has to complete a five-year LLB program in an accredited university in Nigeria or abroad, then a compulsory one-year program (bar 2) at the Nigerian Law School and the international students do a preliminary course (bar 1) before doing the compulsory one-year program. During the law school program students do compulsory court attachment and chamber attachment before graduation.
Legal practice in Kenya is governed by the Advocates Act, Chapter 16 of the Laws of Kenya. Only lawyers admitted to the Bar, known as Advocates of the High Court of Kenya, have the right of audience before Kenyan courts. To be an advocate, (which is concurrent with being a member of the Law Society of Kenya) one must first complete a law degree from a recognised university in the Commonwealth, then attend the Kenya School of Law for a postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice for training in more practical legal subjects such as conveyancing and evidence, and complete a mandatory six-month articles of pupillage under a lawyer of five years' standing.
Upon completion of the requisite academic and practical training, one must 'petition' the chief justice of the judiciary for admission to the bar by filing the requisite documents, including the petition in a prescribed format under the Advocates Act and an accompanying affidavit, a certificate of completion of pupillage and two certificates of moral fitness by practising lawyers of five years' standing, one of which must be from the petitioner's supervisor in chambers (referred to as 'pupil master'), and pay a fee.
The petition is addressed to both the registrar of the High Court on behalf of the chief justice and the secretary/CEO of the Law Society of Kenya, and upon approval by the Council of the Law Society, one is 'called to the bar'. The call is made in open court by taking an oath before the chief justice, who pronounces the admission. Usually, several lawyers are admitted to the bar at the same session.
To maintain eligibility to practice before courts, one must pay an annual fee for a 'practising certificate' to the Law Society of Kenya, although the certificate is issued by the Court Registrar. Non-payment renders one ineligible to appear before courts. Lawyers who do not wish to appear before courts need not take out a certificate, but in practice most lawyers do so as it is generally required by most employers hiring the services of a lawyer, since only advocates can sign any documents in such capacity.
Advocates who wish to administer oaths—usually in affidavit format—must apply to the Chief Justice to be appointed Commissioners for Oaths, whereas those who wish to perform functions similar to notaries public in the United Kingdom must have been advocates for five years, and formally apply to be a notary public to the Chief Justice through the Court Registrar. To appear before the Supreme Court, one must be an advocate of seven years' standing.
Asia and Pacific Islands
In Australia, prospective lawyers must complete an undergraduate LL.B. or graduate JD or a Diploma in Law and complete the practical training requirement which is met by completing an approved practical legal training course or articles of clerkship.
Admission to practice is a matter for each State. However, a person holding a practising certificate in any Australian jurisdiction is entitled to practise from time to time in another Australian jurisdiction without gaining admission in that jurisdiction.
New Zealand practitioners may apply for admission pursuant to Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 (Cth).
New South Wales
A person is admitted as a legal practitioner after completing the required academic and practical training requirements. These matters are dealt with in the Legal Profession Act 2004. The applicant applies to the Legal Profession Admission Board who assesses applications (both local and foreign), and is ultimately admitted as a lawyer by the Supreme Court of New South Wales (s31 of the Legal profession Act 2004).
After admission, a person is then entitled to apply for a practising certificate from the Law Society of New South Wales (if they wish to practice as a solicitor), or the NSW Bar Association (if they wish to practice as a barrister). The practising certificate requires the payment of fees, insurance and a contribution to the fidelity fund (which compensates clients in some circumstances).
Under the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic), an individual may practise law, as a legal practitioner, in the state of Victoria if he or she has been admitted to the legal profession in any Australian jurisdiction and holds a current local or interstate practising certificate. Furthermore, the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules 2008 (Vic) replace articles of clerkship with supervised workplace training and make changes to the process of admission to practice. Under these new rules, upon completion of an approved training course and attainment of an accredited law degree, a law graduate needs to complete either a Practical Legal Training (PLT) program or Supervised Workplace Training (SWT) to be admitted to practise law in Victoria.
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In the People's Republic of China, one must first obtain a recognized degree (a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree), pass the National Judicial Examination, and complete a one-year apprenticeship.
Fiji requires a Bachelor of Law degree (four years of study) as well as the successful completion of either the Professional Diploma in Legal Practice offered by the University of the South Pacific or Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice offered at the University of Fiji, or an equivalent Law Degree and bar admission course from abroad.
Hong Kong makes a distinction between barristers and solicitors. Admission to either profession requires a law degree (either the four-year LL.B. or the two-year Juris Doctor) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (which requires nine months). The apprenticeship to become a barrister is only one year, while a solicitor must apprentice for two years.
Foreign lawyers (from any jurisdiction) may be admitted as solicitors by passing the Overseas Qualified Lawyers Examination and satisfying a three months residence requirement. Foreign lawyers may also be admitted as barristers by passing the Barristers Qualification Examination.
In India, prospective lawyers must complete an undergraduate law degree after 12 years of schooling and obtain an Honours Law Degree, (actually a double degree) where the course is a five-year course. The first undergraduate foundational and generic degree, (usually B.A.Law but in some cases Bachelor of General Laws/Bachelor of Socio-Legal Studies etc.) is awarded after three years of study, and the professional Law Degree called the LL.B. (Honours) Degree, which has a substantial component of Practical training, is earned after two years of further legal studies.
Alternatively any graduate with a bachelor's degree in any subject (obtained after 15 years of education, i.e. after graduation), can enroll for a second graduate degree in law of a three-year course (LL.B. Degree). The 5 Year LL.B. (honours) Degree and the 3-year LL.B. Degree are the only qualifying Professional Degrees recognized for entering the legal Profession in India.
Law Graduates in India are not entitled to call themselves advocates and can not appear in courts even if they call themselves Lawyers. India requires all Law Graduates, intending to enter the profession of practising Law as Advocates, to first enroll themselves on the Roll of Advocates of any State Bar Council (regional authorities under the overall authority of the Bar Council of India) and to appear for the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) conducted by the Bar Council of India which is the Institution regulating the Profession of Legal Practice. It is now mandatory for all Law School Graduates, graduating from 2009 to 2010 onwards to qualify in the All India Bar Examination without which they shall not be admitted to practice in Courts and cannot refer to themselves as Advocates. After being enrolled by one of the State Bar Councils, and clearing the All India Bar Examination, a Law Graduate is an Advocate and can appear in Court representing clients.
Only after the Law graduate whose name is entered upon the Roll of Advocates maintained by any one of the State Bar Councils and issued The Certificate of Enrollment (Sanad)in evidence thereof, appears for and clears the All India Bar Examination, and earns a Certificate of Practise issued by the Bar Council of India, can style himself as an Advocate and Practise in Indian Courts.
All Advocates in India, irrespective of which State Bar Council they are registered, have a Right of Practise in all High Courts and their Subordinate Courts and Tribunals throughout the Territory of India under Section 30 of The Advocates Act.
However to practise Law before the Supreme Court of India, Advocates must first appear for and qualify in the Supreme Court Advocate on Record Examination conducted by the Supreme Court.
There is no distinction between barrister and solicitor in Indonesia. Instead, an admitted person to the bar to practice law is called an advocate (advokat), who is licensed to provide legal services both before or outside the court.
To be an Indonesian advocate, one needs to be appointed by Peradi (Indonesian Advocates Association) and take an oath in an open proceeding before the high court having a jurisdiction over the prospective advocate. As an advocate, one is allowed to practice law all over Indonesia.
Before appointed as an advocate, there are requirements which must be met which are listed under Article 3 paragraph 1 of the Indonesian Law No. 18 of 2003 on Advocate. The prospective advocate should be an Indonesian citizen, domiciled in Indonesia, is not a civil servant nor a state official, at least 25 years old, holds a bachelor's degree in law and has completed the special education for advocates arranged by Peradi, passed the bar exam organised by Peradi, has completed an internship in a law office for a continuous period of 2 years, has never been penalised for a criminal offense which is subject to an imprisonment of 5 years or more, and well behaved, honest, could act fairly and has a high integrity.
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Iran requires an undergraduate law degree (LL.B., which is a four-year program). After obtaining a law degree, the candidate must pass the bar exam. The Bar Exam in Iran is administered by two different and completely separate bodies. One is the Bar Association of every province—all of which are under the auspices of the country's syndicate of the bars of the country. The other one is administered by the Judicial System of Iran subject to Article 187 of the country's economic, social and cultural development plan. The exam is highly competitive and only a certain number of top applicants are admitted annually.
After a candidate completes a law degree and passes the bar exam, they are admitted to the bar as a “Trainee at Law”. After admission to the bar, an 18-month apprenticeship begins which is highly regulated under the auspices of Bar Syndicate Rules and supervision of an assigned First Degree Attorney. Trainees or apprentices must attend designated courts for designated weeks to hear cases and write case summaries. A logbook signed by the judge on the bench has to certify their weekly attendance. By the end of the eighteenth month, they are eligible to apply to take the Final Bar Exam by submitting their case summaries, the logbook and a research work pre-approved by the Bar. It is noteworthy, however, that during these 18 months, Trainees are eligible to have a limited practice of law under the supervision of their supervising Attorney. This practice does not include Supreme Court eligible cases and certain criminal and civil cases. Candidates will be tested on Civil law, Civil Procedure, Criminal law, Criminal Procedure, Commercial Law, Notary (including rules pertaining Official Documents, Land & Real Estate registrations and regulations etc.). Each exam takes two days, a day on oral examination in front of a judge or an attorney, and a day of essay examination, in which they will be tested on hypothetical cases submitted to them. Successful applicants will be honoured with the title of “First Degree Attorney”, after they take the oath and can practice in all courts of the country including the Supreme Court. Those who fail must redo the program in full or in part before re-taking the Final Bar Exam.
Israel requires an undergraduate law degree from an educational institution recognized by the Law Faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Applicants must then pass a series of examinations on eight separate areas of law: obligations and labor law, property law, family and succession law, criminal law and procedure, civil procedure and professional ethics, constitutional and administration law, commercial law on corporations, partnerships, and other associations, and commercial law on bankruptcy, liquidations, bills, exchange, and tax law. After these exams, the applicant must serve as an articled clerk for twelve months, at least 36 hours a week, 25 of which must be worked before 2:00 PM on that day. After serving their articles, applicants must pass the final examinations, which deal with court procedure, procedure for registering land rights in real estate, procedure for registering corporations, partnerships, and liquidations, interpretation of laws and judicial documents, professional ethics, evidence, and recent changes in case law and legislation. The final examinations consist of a written examination followed by an oral examination before three judges. Those who pass are eligible for admittance to the Israel Bar Association. Residence in Israel is a precondition for admittance.
Lawyers moving to Israel from abroad without an Israeli law degree must have at least two years of practical legal experience as an attorney or judge in their country of origin. If an applicant does not have two years of experience in his or her home country, the foreign law degree must be recognized by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The applicant must also complete a Hebrew proficiency exam followed by the battery of exams and internship requirements listed above. Those who have at least five years of practical legal experience abroad and began serving their articles within ten years of their arrival in Israel are exempt from the final examinations.
Japan requires the passing of the national bar exam, a 12-month apprenticeship which incorporates additional coursework and passing the graduation examination of apprenticeship.Sitting bar Exam,applicants must have a degree of juris doctor or passing preliminary Bar exam The apprenticeship is supervised by the Legal Research and Training Institute of the Supreme Court of Japan.
The Jordanian Bar Association requires both academic, practical and oral exams for admission to the bar. The probationer must hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent in Law.
The Bar Association requires a minimum of two years of training under supervision of an Attorney. However, if a post-graduate degree in law is attained, a reduction to one year of training is possible. The Bar grants the probationer, at different stages of his training, special rights of audience to appear before specific courts.
The probationer may submit a written request, at any stage of his training, to be enrolled in the written exams that the Bar holds 4 times a year. If he/she attains an exam mark of (15/25) or higher, then the probationer will progress to the oral exam conducted by a legal committee elected from a combination of judges, professors and senior lawyers. If he/she passes the oral exam, then they are required to submit a research paper. Each probationer must research a legal subject, submit a written paper, and discuss his/her findings before the committee. If he/she passes, the probationer must undertake an oath before the Minister of Justice, the conclusion of which grants him entry to the Bar. The process requires, on average, around two-and-a-half years to satisfy the Bar Association's requirements to practice law. However, it should be mentioned that only Jordanians may petition the Bar Association to practice law.
Lawyers in Kazakhstan must complete an undergraduate law degree and pass the state examination.
In South Korea, currently there are two types of admission to practice law: (i)until 2017, one can be admitted to practice law by passing the exam called 사법시험 (roughly translated as "Judicial Examination") which requires, as a pre-requisite to apply for the exam, 35 credits of legal education in undergraduate level and certain level of English qualification. Passers should go through two-year training course at the Judicial Research and Training Institute, a national institution, before they are admitted to practice law; and (ii) from 2012, one can be admitted to practice law by passing the exam called 변호사시험 (roughly translated as "Attorney Examination") which requires prior completion of three-year law school course with the degree of Juris Doctor.
Lebanon requires a Lebanese bachelor's degree in law in order to be able to apply to one of two Bar Associations. Upon acceptance, a three-year internship is required at the office of an attorney-at-law, after which the candidate will be subject to oral and written examinations.
Lawyers in Lebanon should be Lebanese for at least 10 years.
Malaysia requires advocates and solicitors to be admitted to the Malaysian Bar. The prerequisite is either a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree (an LL.B (Hons)., which requires four years of study) from the local law faculties or a call as a Barrister in the UK or a Certificate in Legal Practice, which is a post-graduate qualification on procedural law equivalent to a master's degree and taking approximately nine months to complete, and a nine-month pupillage. Advocates and Solicitors are entitled to appear before the courts and/or perform solicitors' work, as the legal profession in Malaysia is fused without any distinction between barristers and solicitors.
The East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak have their own sets of criteria for admission to their own respective law societies.
New Zealand requires an undergraduate law degree (LL.B., which lasts four years), and completion of the Professional Legal Studies Course (which lasts five months). Australian lawyers can apply for mutual recognition if they're admitted, for admission to the courts as a lawyer in New Zealand.
Lawyers in Pakistan are called Advocates. To enjoy rights of audience in the Courts in Pakistan, a prospective lawyer/advocate must obtain a 5-year B.A. LL.B. degree or a Bachelor's or equivalent degree followed by a LL.B. of three years. The latter route is no longer offered and no admission at a Pakistani university on or after January 1, 2019 shall be recognized by the Pakistan Bar Council or a Provincial Bar Council for admission to the bar. The degree has to be obtained from a recognized Pakistani university or from a recognized university in a common law country. All legal education in Pakistan is taught in the English language. After the required academic qualifications a prospective lawyer/advocate must undertake six months training under a senior lawyer (High Courts Lawyer) (called Pupillage/ Apprenticeship/ Intern-ship /Training) at the conclusion of which, they have to take a Bar exam consisting of multiple choice question paper (or in some cases a professional exam) and an interview with a committee of lawyers presided by Judge of concerned High Court. After that the respective Provincial Bar Council may grant him or her the rights of audience in the lower courts (i.e. courts lower than the High Court).
An advocate enrolled with Provincial Bar Council can practice only in his province. He /she will earn right of audience in the High Courts after a further two years of practice in lower courts, at the end of which (in some Provincial Bar Council's) the advocate has to sit another professional exam and an interview with a judge of a High Court.
After a further 10 years' practice in the High Courts, the candidate has to sit another professional exam and an interview with a judge of the Supreme Court to be given the rights of audience in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The exams are usually conducted to ensure that the quality of lawyers being produced is maintained to a certain level. The interview is then another opportunity for a senior judge and members of the provincial Bar Council to meet the candidate and see if he or she is fit to be admitted as an advocate of the lower courts/ High Courts or the Supreme Court.
To practice law in the Philippines, one must have fulfilled the non-academic and academic requirements. For non-academic requirements, one must be a Filipino, be at least 21 years old, be a resident of the Philippines, and have the moral and other non-academic qualifications needed. In terms of academic requirements, one must have obtained an undergraduate degree (with major, focus or concentration in any of the subjects of History, Economics, Political Science, Logic, English or Spanish), has obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree (or equivalent such as Juris Doctor) from a law school recognized by the Secretary of Education. They must have also taken and passed (75% general average, with no subject falling below 50%) the Bar Exam, taken the Attorney's Oath before the Supreme Court, signed the Roll of Attorneys, remain in good standing with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and continually participates in the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.
Persons seeking admission to the Singapore Bar must obtain an approved law degree through completing a course of study of at least three academic years leading to that degree as a full-time internal candidate from an approved university. The degree is typically an LL.B. or an LL.B. (honours), depending on the university, or a J.D. (from one of only four approved US universities or Singapore Management University and Singapore University of Social Sciences). They are then required to sit for the Singapore Bar Examinations, which is divided into Part A (for overseas graduates from approved overseas universities only) and Part B (a five-month practical course, compulsory for both local and overseas graduates). They are further required to complete a six-month Practice Training Contract before they can be called to the Bar as Advocates and Solicitors of the Supreme Court of Singapore. Advocates and Solicitors are entitled to appear before courts or perform solicitors' work, as the legal profession in Singapore is fused without any distinction between barristers and solicitors.
Sri Lanka requires an attorney to be admitted and enrolled as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka to practice law. One must pass the required law exams at the Sri Lanka Law College, and then six months in apprenticeship to a practicing attorney and undergo the practical training sessions held by the Sri Lanka Law College. One can enter Sri Lanka Law College through the highly competitive entrance examination, or by way of an LL.B from a recognized local or foreign university.
Under the Thailand Lawyers Act B.E. 2528 (1985), litigators (barristers) who practice before the courts in Thailand must obtain a "Lawyer's License" issued by the Lawyers Council of Thailand. Legal counsels (solicitors) who do not practice before the courts are not regulated and therefore are not subject to regulatory oversight of the Lawyers Council of Thailand. Law graduates who perform corporate and commercial legal services either in law firms or in-house are not required to obtain a Lawyer's License nor are they required to register with any regulatory body.
To obtain a Lawyer's License, with the right to appear in court, an individual must have the following qualifications: (i) be a Thai national; (ii) be at least 20 years of age; (iii) be a graduate with either a Bachelor's Degree or an Associate Degree in Law or an equivalent Certificate in Law from an educational institution accredited by the Lawyers' Council of Thailand; (iv) not be a person of indecent behavior or delinquent morals or a person whose conduct is indicative of dishonesty; (v) not have been imprisoned by a final judgment; (vi) not have been bankrupt by a final judgment; (vii) not having an ailment which is contagious and repugnant to the public; (viii) not being physically disabled or mentally infirmed which may cause professional incompetence; (ix) not be a government official or a local government official with permanent salary and position; (x) take a training course offered by the Lawyers Council of Thailand (normally one month of theoretical training and at least six months of practical training); (xi) pass the Thai Law Society examinations (Sapa Tanai Kwam); (xii) enroll with the Thai Bar Association (Regulation of Lawyers Council on Lawyer’s Training B.E. 2529 (AD 1986)). Candidates who have been an apprentice in a law firm for over a year and have passed an examination specified by the Board of Governors of the Lawyers Council of Thailand may be exempted from the period of practical training. The lawyer's licence is valid for two years but can be valid for lifetime for a fee (s.39 of the Thailand Lawyers Act). Lawyers who wish to obtain the title barrister-at-law which entitle the holder to take further examinations to become a judge or a public prosecutor, may take a further one- year course offered by the Thai Bar Association 
Among European Union members, the Diplomas Directive (Directive no. 89/48/EEC) states that those who have obtained a license or diploma in one state can pursue the profession in another state. Thus, it is not difficult for a law degree in one jurisdiction to be used as a qualifying degree in another jurisdiction within the European Union.
In addition, European Union Directive 98/5/EC provides three main methods for a foreign lawyer to be integrated into the legal profession in another member state. Through the aforementioned porcess of 89/48/EEC, a lawyer's foreign diploma can be recognized in another member state, in addition to passing an aptitude test. Alternatively, actively practicing the law of the host state for a period of three years provides a pathway for bar admission in the host country. The three year period can be shortened by fulfilling other requirements.
In Austria, an attorney ("Rechtsanwalt" in German) must meet the following requirements:
- hold a law degree,
- complete a three-year apprenticeship in a law firm as a trainee lawyer ("Rechtsanwaltsanwärter"),
- complete a seven-month clerkship at court,
- complete the required amount of training seminars (42 sessions),
- pass the bar exam.
Furthermore, trainee lawyers may only register as attorneys after they have accumulated a total of five years of professional experience (including the apprenticeship and the clerkship).
In Belgium, a prospective lawyer ("advocaat" in Dutch, "avocat"/"avocat" in French) must meet following requirements:
- hold a master's degree in law (which requires two years of study and the Bachelor in Law which requires three years of study) or hold a PhD in Law
- taking the pledge in a court of appeal,
- a three-year apprenticeship (Flemish prospective lawyers have to do 15 cases of pro bono during these 3 years),
- the CAPA (French, 'Certificat d'aptitude à la profession d'avocat') course of study,
- pass the final bar exam.
During the three-year apprenticeship the prospective lawyer is equivalent to a licensed lawyer, and can for instance issue legal opinions and directly represent clients before all courts (except for the Supreme Court).
All attorneys in Croatia have to be members of the Croatian Bar Association as well as members of local bar associations (mandatory membership). The membership requires completion of the one-cycle five-year master's degree, the Bar Examination in the Republic of Croatia (which can be accessed after at least 18 months of apprenticeship), and at least three years of experience in a law office or in judicial bodies (or five years of experience on legal jobs outside judiciary), the time before Bar Examination included. 
- full capacity
- Master's degree in law acquired at a Czech law school or analogous education acquired at a foreign university, if such an education is officially acknowledged as equivalent by an international treaty, by which the Czech republic is bound, or if a particular enactment acknowledges such a foreign education, or if it is acknowledged due to its content and extent from the point of view of knowledge and skill as sufficient for practicing law by the Advocacy Enactment
- at least three years of legal apprenticeship
- personal integrity (absence of conviction for deliberate crime)
- absence of disciplinary punishment of prohibition of law practice (if a person was already a law practitioner)
- absence of being stricken from the list of law practitioners because of personal bankruptcy
- absence of labour engagement or officiary engagement, except of engagement:
- to the Bar Association or to similar organisation in other EU state
- to a law practitioner or to a legal personality established in order to provide legal services
- to a University as a lecturer
- as a scientific worker of Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
- passing the bar exam
- taking the pledge
In Denmark, to use the title of advokat one must complete an LL.B. (three years of study) and an LL.M. (which awards the academic title of Candidata Juris, and requires two years of study), followed by a three-year apprenticeship, one year as an assistant lawyer, and an exam which has a moot court element.
To become a French lawyer, an "avocat" (male) or "avocate" (female), one must:
- obtain an undergraduate degree (three years for a "licence") and complete a first year of Masters of Laws (diplôme de maîtrise en droit), so a total of 4 years of study at university
- take the exam to enter one of the CRFPA (Centres Régional de Formation à la Profession d'Avocat) where one completes an eighteen-month course and obtains an award of the requisite Certificat d'aptitude à la profession d'avocat (CAPA).
However, those with degrees from another country may become a licensed attorney with a French bar by passing an exam. Depending on one's qualifications, a non-French attorney can take the Article 97, 98, 99, or 100 exam. Each of these exams has different requirements.
French "juristes" (in-house counsels) do not need to hold the Certificat d'aptitude à la profession d'avocat (CAPA).
Until recently anyone could in principle practice law in Finland, not just qualified lawyers. However, after the entry into force of the Licensed Legal Counsel Act (715/2011) on January 1, 2013 only attorneys that are members of the bar association and who may use the title asianajaja, or licensed legal counsel may represent clients in court. To become a licensed legal counsel requires the completion of a legal education consisting of a Bachelor of Laws degree (or oikeusnotaari, which usually takes three years to complete) and a Master of Laws degree (or oikeustieteen maisteri), which usually takes one to two years to complete, and a traineeship of a minimum of one year in either Courts or in law firms. After the traineeship is completed successfully, the district court awards the title of varatuomari (VT) or those who do not do a traineeship in Court can apply to be licensed legal counsel, which is in practice the basic qualification to practice law. To be admitted to the Finnish bar association, the same legal education requirement as for licensed legal counsel applies, but the traineeship requirement is four years and one has to pass a bar exam (Asianajotutkinto, "Advocates Exam") which also requires the demonstration of practical skills. In-house counsel are not allowed to be members of the bar, but can be licensed legal counsel. Also foreign attorneys can practice in Finland as in-house counsel, without being licensed in Finland, but are not allowed to represent clients in Courts 
It is not necessary to have a license to practice law in Georgia. In order to provide legal support, advice and services to clients, one must complete an undergraduate degree in law (four years of study) and a postgraduate degree in law, which is awarded by the state examination commission and requires one year of study. However, only the members of the Georgian Bar Association (ადვოკატები) are permitted to appear in court.
In Germany, a lawyer (Rechtsanwalt) must be a member of a local bar association. Membership in the local bar association requires the candidate to have passed two state examinations in law.
At present, qualifying law studies do not carry a Bachelor or Master award but are instead concluded by state examinations (in contrast to university examinations). The rationale lies in the national interest of upholding the quality and comparability of legal training.
The First State Exam (Erstes Staatsexamen or Erste juristische Prüfung) is usually taken after four-and-a-half years of undergraduate law study. A university degree (Dipl.-jur. or Magister Jur.) may be granted by the university after completion of the exam, but this depends on the individual university's practice. Some prominent universities like the Law School of the University of Heidelberg do not grant a university degree after completion of the exam.
The First State Exam is followed by a two-year practical phase (Referendariat) sponsored by the local Court of Appeal (Oberlandesgericht). This is characterised by part-time studies alongside full-time work and includes work placements at various institutions, including courts of law, criminal prosecution services, in-house legal teams in the public sector and private practice law firms. Upon completion of this two-year training period, a trainee is automatically registered for the Second State Exam (Zweites Staatsexamen or Assessorprüfung).
Foreign law degrees do not generally enable the holder to enter the vocational stage of legal training in Germany. Holders of a foreign law degree must pass a Section 112a equivalent means assessment (Gleichwertigkeitsprüfung nach § 112a DRiG) before they can be admitted to a German legal traineeship.
After successful completion of the second state exam, admission to the bar is completed, and the individual may apply to be licensed to practice as a lawyer or be employed by the state as a judge or state prosecutor.
Qualified lawyers holding an admission in another country may join a German local bar association if they have practiced law for several years; this is subject to individual examination.
Greece requires that a lawyer (δικηγόρος) be a member of a local bar association. Requirements include an undergraduate law degree, which lasts at least four years, an eighteen-month apprenticeship, and the passing of the bar examination. Candidates should normally be under thirty-five years of age.
The Hungarian Bar Association is a public body and the national organization of attorneys, which has an independent administrative apparatus and budget.
The regional bar associations are the members of the Hungarian Bar Association. The process is similar in scope to that of the German system, in that there is a dual bar exam and practicum process. After a first degree in law, which is usually approximately 5 years, a student must pass the first level exam. Then, the apprentice must clerk or practice within a law practice for three years. Of which, one year may be substituted with further ph.d. studies. However, they apprentice must then pass a series of 4 oral and written exams within certain subject to officially be admitted to their districts bar and practice law.
Following the English tradition, Ireland has both barristers and solicitors. To become a solicitor, one must complete an undergraduate degree or pass the Preliminary Examination. One must then pass the Final Examination, complete a two-year apprenticeship, and finish the concurrent Professional Practice Courses. To become a barrister, one must complete an undergraduate law degree (BCL, which lasts three years or LL.B. which last four years) or the Kings Inns Diploma in Legal Studies which lasts two years, obtain the Degree of Barrister-at-Law from the Honorable Society of King's Inns, and finish a one-year pupillage (known as devilling).
Italy mandates membership in an Italian bar association, which requires completion of an undergraduate law degree (Laurea in Scienze Giuridiche, three years), a graduate law degree (Laurea Specialistica in Giurisprudenza (a two-year program which confers the title of Dottore Magistrale in Giurisprudenza), or simply the one-cycle five-year master's degree (Laurea a ciclo unico Magistrale in Giurisprudenza)), an 18-month apprenticeship, and passing of the professional exam.
There is a National Bar Association (Consiglio Nazionale Forense) representing the profession of avvocato at the national level in Italy. However, the structure of the Italian profession is decentralised, with the local bar associations (Consiglio dell’Ordini degli Avvocati) holding most of the regulatory powers. The Consiglio Nazionale Forense deals with disciplinary policy for the profession; it is responsible for the Code of Conduct and will hear appeals from disciplinary decisions of the local bar associations.
There are more than 165 Local Bar Associations in Italy which correspond to the number of court districts in the country. Each local bar deals with the admission, supervision, training and disciplining of its members as well as maintaining the register of avvocati. All avvocati must be registered with their local bar in order to practise in Italy.
Exercise of the profession of avvocato without being duly qualified and registered with the Local Bar Association is a criminal offence under Italian Law.
Kosovar law distinguishes between "domestic lawyers," who must be citizens of Kosovo, and "foreign lawyers," who have an active license in a recognized jurisdiction and are admitted to practice in Kosovo under certain conditions.
Domestic lawyers must pass the bar exam. To sit for the bar exam, one must be a citizen of Kosovo, have a four-year bachelor in law or a master's in law, and complete a legal internship. The internship requirement is met after a one-year work as a trainee at the courts or a lawyer's office. Otherwise, the candidate should show two years of law-related experience with foreign or domestic organizations.
Foreign lawyers must have been licensed for at least five years in a U.S. or EU jurisdiction or in a country that permits Kosovo lawyers to practice under the same condition. They pass an abridged test administered by the Kosovo Bar and pay relatively higher fees than their domestic counterparts.
Admission to practice as a lawyer in Liechtenstein is governed by the Rechtsanwaltsgesetz (RAG). The Liechtenstein Bar Association (Liechtensteinische Rechtsanwaltskammer) is responsible for all bar admissions, as of January 1, 2014. One is eligible to be become a licensed lawyer (Rechtsanwalt) upon completion of a Master, Licentiate (Lizenziat), or Magister of Law degree at an Austrian or Swiss university, according to Art. 5 RAG.
Lawyers must register with a bar association in Luxembourg. Admission to a bar association has character, language, citizenship requirements. Applicants must also complete an apprenticeship or aptitude test, depending on the list to which one wants to register.
Malta's legal practice is fused and legal practice is regulated by the Chamber of Advocates. Licence to practice law is granted by way of a warrant issued on completion of the Doctorate of Laws (LLD) programme from Malta University (or a comparable international programme) and an admission exam in English and Maltese. Lawyers holding rights to practice in other jurisdictions can apply for an exemption from local practice prohibitions allowing them to offer services under their foreign title though permission is issued by discretion and requires three years' local legal practice and a comparable licence elsewhere.
Moldova requires an undergraduate law degree and passage of the state examination.
In the Netherlands, to be a licensed lawyer (Advocaat), one must complete an undergraduate law degree (Bacheloropleiding or LL.B., which is three years of study), the master of law degree (doctorandus in law before implementation of the Bologna Process and conferring the meester title, which is a one-year LL.M. program), and a three-year apprenticeship.
Only holders of a law degree with civiel effect (i.e. a qualifying law degree) are admitted to regulated legal professions (juridische togaberoepen). Qualifying law degrees in the Netherlands must cover the four foundations of legal knowledge: Dutch private law, Dutch criminal law, Dutch constitutional law and international/European law.
Lawyers (advokat) have to be licensed in Norway, they are licensed by the authorities provided they have an LL.M (master of law)(before 2008- cand. jur.-- candidatus juris), and two years' practice as assisting lawyer (advokatfullmektig) or two years' practice as a police prosecutor (politiadvokat or politifullmektig) or deputy judge (dommerfullmektig) and some minor formalities. Whilst the earlier cand. juris was normally a 6-year degree, the LL.M. is a 5-year degree. Membership of the bar association (Advokatforeningen) is optional.
In Poland, a lawyer (adwokat or radca prawny) must complete a magister's degree in law (which lasts five years) and be admitted to a bar association (The Polish Bar Council or National Chamber of Legal Advisors). There are several ways to gain admission to the bar, including: three years of training followed by the bar exam; five years of legal professional experience followed by the bar exam; a Ph.D. in law followed by either the bar exam or 3 years of legal professional experience; or possession of high academic qualifications in legal sciences (e.g., habilitated doctor or professor). Once admitted to the bar association of one occupation, a lawyer can move to another occupation with little hassle.
In order to register as a lawyer (advogado) in Portugal with the Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados), one must have a law degree, complete an 18 month legal traineeship, and pass the bar exam.
The Romanian National Union of Bar Associations regulates the profession of a lawyer (avocat) in Romania. A graduate of a Romanian law school with a bachelor's degree must pass the bar exam to obtain the status of a probationary lawyer. After practicing law under the supervision of another lawyer for two years as a trainee lawyer, one can pass the permanent lawyer's bar exam to obtain full access to the profession. Law No. 51/1995 provides paths for lawyers already educated or admitted in another EU member state to work as lawyers in Romania.
It is not necessary to have a license to practice law in Russia as a legal consultant, but only the members of the Russian bar associations (advocates) are permitted to appear in court on criminal matters. In Russia, an advocate must obtain an undergraduate degree in law (four years) and a Specialist in Law or Jurist degree (one year), then pass oral examinations.
Upon possession of a four-year bachelor's degree in law from the University of the Republic of San Marino or a recognized foreign university, one must pass an examination for membership into the bar association (Ordine degli avvocati e notai). Furthermore, one must possess all civil rights, reside in San Marino, and be a citizen of San Marino or an eligible country.
Article 6 of the "Law about Lawyers" ("Zakon o advokaturi") establishes the requirements to become a lawyer in Serbia. A prospective lawyer must have a law degree from a Serbian or recognzied foreign university. Then, one can pass the Serbian bar exam. Health and character requirements apply. One must also be a citizen of Serbia. However, according to Article 14 of the law, a foreign citizen admitted to practice law in his home country can also be entered on the registry of lawyers.
In Slovakia, one must first possess a master's degree in law or a foreign equivalent to become a lawyer. A training period between three and five years is also necessary. In addition to fulfilling character requirements and passing the bar exam, the applicant must take an oath. Upon fulfilling the aforementioned criteria, the applicant will be admitted to practice law by the Slovak Bar Association (Slovenská advokátska komora). Some of these requirements can be waived for a person who is a university professor in law, has passed other Slovak legal examinations, or is admitted as a lawyer in another EU country.
In Spain, a lawyer uses the title of Abogado(male) or /Abogada(female), and must be a member of a local bar association, such as the bar association of Madrid. Membership requirements for all bar associations are the same. There are 3 requirements: 1. An undergraduate course in Law. (4 Years). 2. A Master's degree in "Abogacía". (3 Terms including internship). 3. Pass an Examination.
In Sweden, a person who has received legal education in Sweden or abroad may call themselves lawyer jurist, start a law office and practice law. Nevertheless, membership in the Swedish Bar Association is required to use the title of advokat, but not to practice law. Membership in the bar association requires an LL.M. degree (juristexamen, which lasts four and a half years); three years of legal work which must be in a law office (either an established firm or one's own firm), and the passing of an oral examination.
In Switzerland, lawyers must complete a Bachelor of Law (BLaw, which lasts 3 years), a Master of Law (MLaw, which lasts three terms), a one- to two-year apprenticeship (depending on the Canton), and pass the bar examination.
In Turkey, lawyers (avukat in Turkish) must register to a local bar and the Union of Turkish Bars. One year of internship is mandatory. In order to register to a bar, one must have a bachelor degree in law. Foreign citizens may have a degree from a Turkish faculty of law but only Turkish citizens may practice law in Turkey.
The Ukrainian National Bar Association (Національна асоціація адвокатів України) regulates the legal profession in Ukraine. In order to be admitted to the bar with the title of advokat (адвокат), one must have a law degree, two years of legal experience, completed legal traineeship, and passed the bar exam. Knowledge of the Ukrainian language is obligatory.
The United Kingdom comprises three distinct legal jurisdictions:
As such, admission to practice law requires different qualifications in each country of the UK.
England and Wales
In England and Wales, different qualifications are required to become a solicitor or a barrister, both of whom are lawyers, with different rights of audience in the courts. Most lawyers are solicitors, dealing directly with clients, while barristers are specialist advocates, instructed by solicitors. For both professions, one must either obtain an undergraduate law degree (LL.B., which typically lasts three years), or complete the Common Professional Examination/Graduate Diploma in Law (which lasts one year after completing an undergraduate degree). Future barristers must also complete the Bar Professional Training Course (formerly Bar Vocational Course), followed by a year of vocational training known as a pupillage and be member of one of the four prestigious Inns of Court.
Potential solicitors are required to complete the Legal Practice Course, which lasts one year, then a two-year apprenticeship under a training contract, during which the trainee solicitor has to complete a Professional Skills Course. Chartered Legal Executives (formerly known as Fellows of CILEx) undertake a series of training courses and are required to pass qualifications relevant to the area of practice in which they intend to specialise. The first stage for the full vocational route to qualifying is called the CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice and is set at the equivalent to A-level law. The second and final qualifications are equivalent to an honours degree course - the CILEx Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice.
Trainees will often work at the same time as studying in order to acquire practical skills. The courses can be undertaken at a college, university or through an open learning programme. The courses are open to graduates and non-graduates. Chartered Legal Executives qualify after completing their CILEX training followed by a minimum of three years' qualifying employment. Chartered Legal Executives may do a wide range of legal work although, like solicitors, they generally specialise in one area. After completing their academic training, trainee Legal Executives often occupy paralegal roles to satisfy the three-year vocational stage of qualifying as Chartered Legal Executives.
In Scotland, a lawyer normally studies for an LL.B. in Scots law; as an undergraduate first degree this takes three years for an ordinary degree or four years as an honours degree. The LL.B. can be taken as a graduate entry degree which takes two years. The process of admission to practice law then depends on whether a lawyer wishes to become a solicitor or an advocate.
Admission to practice as a solicitor is regulated by the Law Society of Scotland, with solicitors having to study for a one-year Diploma in Professional Legal Practice and then complete a traineeship in a law firm. Solicitors have rights of audience before the sheriff courts and justice of the peace courts.
Admission to practice as an advocate, having rights of audience before the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary, is regulated by the Faculty of Advocates. The Faculty of Advocates exercises this authority under the Act of Sederunt (Regulation of Advocates) 2011, which delegates the responsibility from the Court of Session. An Act of Sederunt is a form of subordinate legislation passed by the Court of Session, and the powers to regulate admission to practice as an advocate is set by Section 120 of the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010, which states:
120 Regulation of the Faculty
- (1) The Court of Session is responsible—
- (a) for—
- (i) admitting persons to (and removing persons from) the office of advocate,
- (ii) prescribing the criteria and procedure for admission to (and removal from) the office of advocate,
- (b) for regulating the professional practice, conduct and discipline of advocates.
- (2) The Court's responsibilities within subsection (1)(a)(ii) and (b) are exercisable on its behalf, in accordance with such provision as it may make for the purpose, by—
- (a) the Lord President, or
- (b) the Faculty of Advocates.— Section 120, Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010
Prospective advocates (called devils or intrants) will complete a period of training in a solicitor's office, a period of devilling, and then must pass an assessment under the Faculty's Scheme of Assessment for Devils. The Faculty publishes detailed regulations as required by the Act of Sederunt, which lay out all of the requirements for prospective Advocates.
Admission to practice in Anguilla is regulated by the Legal Profession Act 2016. To be admitted in Anguilla a person first needs to be admitted in either England & Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, or have received a Certificate of Legal Education from the Council of Legal Education of the West Indies. Further the applicant needs to be either (a) a Belonger of Anguilla, (b) resident in Anguilla, or (c) a citizen of certain specified Caribbean countries.
Under the laws of the Bahamas, only a Bahamian national can normally be admitted as a lawyer. However, there is an exception for special admissions to allow senior barristers who have specialist expertise to be admitted to conduct a single case.
British Virgin Islands
A person may be admitted as a barrister or solicitor in the British Virgin Islands either by being admitted as a lawyer in the United Kingdom, or by attending one of the three regional law schools (Hugh Wooding Law School, Norman Manley Law School or Eugene Dupuch Law School). In 2015 the British Virgin Islands passed the Legal Profession Act 2015. Although the new admission rules under the Act have not yet been brought into force, once it does so graduates from regional law schools will still be eligible for admission but will have to undertake a period of one years' pupillage; and lawyers from the United Kingdom will only be eligible for admission if they have five years' post-qualification experience. The new regime will also allow senior foreign lawyers to be admitted temporarily just for a single case.
Canadian applicants to the bar must obtain admission (referred to as the "call to the bar") to one of the provincial or territorial Law Societies in the various jurisdictions of Canada. As an example, in order to sit for the bar exam, the Law Society of British Columbia requires that a student complete an undergraduate degree in any discipline (B.A. of four years), and an undergraduate law degree (LL.B. and/or B.C.L., three to four years) or Juris Doctor (three years). The applicant must complete an apprenticeship referred to as "articling" (nine to fifteen months depending on the jurisdiction and nature of the articling process).
A person may be admitted as an attorney-at-law in the Cayman Islands by one of three routes. A newly qualified person may qualify by either holding a bachelor of laws degree from the Cayman Islands Law School or an equivalent institution or a non-law degree together with the Common Professional Examination/Graduate Diploma in Law, and then completing the 9-month Professional Practise Course ("PPC"), followed by eighteen months as an articled clerk within a law firm. Under the Legal Practitioners (Students) Regulations (2012 Revision) only Caymanians or persons that hold Cayman Status or as otherwise approved by the Cayman Islands Cabinet may undertake the PPC. Lawyers who are already qualified to practice in the United Kingdom, Jamaica or another approved Commonwealth jurisdiction may be admitted under the Legal Practitioners Law (2015 Revision) provided that they are in good standing in their jurisdiction of admission and can demonstrate residence in the Cayman Islands for at least a year (usually by holding a valid work permit for that period of time). Lastly, lawyers who are admitted in another jurisdiction and who only wish to be temporarily admitted in the Cayman Islands for the purposes of appearing in a single case (usually Queen's Counsel from London) may be temporarily admitted. All attorneys are required to hold a current practicing certificate to practice law, but the Cayman Islands is slightly unusual that if an Attorney ceases to hold a practicing certificate for two years they are struck off the roll.
Lawyers in Mexico are required to complete a law degree (Licenciado en Derecho, a five-year program), and obtain a practice certificate (cedula professional) from the Bureau of Professions of the Ministry of Education (Dirección General de Profesiones), which officially certifies the license by virtue of the law degree.
Regulation of the legal profession is a power reserved to the states pursuant to the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Each state, territory and the District of Columbia has its own rules. Unlike many other countries, US jurisdictions do not license legal practitioners as solicitors and barristers, but all licensed attorneys are qualified to practice as both.
All jurisdictions require applicants to pass a moral character evaluation and to pass an ethics examination, which some states administer as part of their bar examinations. Most require applicants to achieve a particular score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
All jurisdictions except Wisconsin and New Hampshire require successful completion of a bar exam for admission. Diploma privilege is available in those states for graduates of certain law schools whose degree programmes meet certain requirements.
Educational requirements vary but most states require a baccalaureate degree (with any major concentration, or in general studies), followed by a professional doctorate in law - specifically a Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. Some states, such as New York, permit persons with an accredited foreign law degree of comparable duration to join the state bar so long as their education is in the common law. A very small number of states accept US law degrees from unaccredited law schools.
At least one state, California, requires no general degree and no law degree. It is technically possible to become an attorney in California by completing two years of college coursework, or the equivalent as demonstrated by examination and to meet the legal education requirement by studying law diligently in a lawyer's office or judge's chambers for not less than 864 hours over not less than four years. Hours spent as an employee of an attorney or judge do not count as "study."
A few other states also allow their legal education requirement to be met by study under supervision of an attorney or judge in a practice known as reading law, excluding employment. Some states allow applicants to gain their legal education by studying in a law office combined with some period of time in law school. Very few people pursue these options.
In Argentina, prospective lawyers must complete an undergraduate law degree (Abogado, which lasts five to six years depending on the university), and then become a member of one of the jurisdictional associations.
Brazil requires an undergraduate law degree (Bacharel em Direito, which lasts five years) and the passing of the bar examination.
Chile requires a law degree (Licenciado en Ciencias Jurídicas: five years, and to approve a degree exam comprising all studied civil and procedural law that usually can takes one or two years more). It's required also a six-month apprenticeship to finally be able to oath in Supreme Court as a lawyer.
Lawyers (Abogados) in Peru must be members of a local bar association, which requires an undergraduate law degree (Bachiller en Derecho, a six-year program) and a diploma (Titulo de Abogado), the latter requiring one year of apprenticeship and passing of the bar exam.
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