Talk:Admission to the bar in the United States

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Supreme Court Bar Admission[edit]

I'm too tired to look this up now, but I think you also need to have practiced for several years before the highest court in your state before you can be admitted to the SCOTUS bar. 03:16, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Proposed merger with Admission to the Bar[edit]

I disagree with merger. This article is already quite lengthy. Merging it into something else will only make things worse.

This article mainly deals with matters that have almost nothing to do with "admission to the bar", e.g., other degrees that might be confused with the J.D., the history of the J.D. degree specifically, how society and academia view a J.D. compared to a Ph.D., proper use of titles such as Doctor, Barrister, etc., for someone with a J.D. degree.

There is some unavoidable overlap. Perhaps the "admission to the bar" section of the J.D. article could be reduced and some material moved to the other article.
RickReinckens 07:35, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

I also disagree. the JD is a separate article, rightly so. --Irishtimes 02:30, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Strongly disagree with any merger - bar admission is a completely separate process/issue. Many people get a J.D. and never seek bar admission, going into business or becoming writers instead, for example. Contrariwise, some states still permit people with no formal legal education whatsoever to be admitted to the bar. Based on the above sentiments, I'm removing the tags. BD2412 T 13:59, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Section headings added[edit]

I have not added all the section headings but will do so.

RickReinckens 05:34, 8 January 2006 (UTC)


I don't know enough about the topic, but it might appropriate to include information regarding the Acts passed by many states following major wars where people were allowed to be admitted to the practice of law without finishing law school or taking the bar exam (rules varied widely). Peyna 04:48, 10 February 2006 (UTC)


Dear fellow editors: I added some detail on the example of admission to the Texas bar (without having to sit for the Texas bar exam) for "out-of-state" attorneys in the USA. I wasn't sure, but on reflection I now agree that this seems to belong under the heading for Reciprocity. Famspear 00:00, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I mean they might call it "waiver" but it's really the result of reciprocity. It's a lot different than Wisconsin, where you can be admitted to the bar without taking the exam by virtue of graduating from a law school in Wisconsin. It's also not unique to Texas and nearly every state allows for admission after active practice of 5+ years in another state. Peyna 00:19, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

"Reading [the] law"[edit]

In Georgia (U.S. state) where I am admitted it's always "reading law", no "the". I realise use of the "the" is the norm elsewhere. Shouldn't we put it in both ways? Ellsworth 21:48, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I'd never heard it called "reading law" before, but it does appear to be used (especially awhile ago, and maybe in England), so the current version on the page is fine. It just seemed weird to have "the" enclosed in brackets, since it seemed to be implying that "the" is supposed to be there, but it isn't used. It's also almost impossible to search for instances of the use of the term "reading law", because the it so often used as a phrase in sentences unrelated to the topic of bar admission. Anyway, it's a minor concern. Peyna 21:54, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree, with the brackets it's ambiguous. Thanks for helping. Ellsworth 22:51, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Bulletize; combine[edit]

Howdy! I added some stuff I learned while working for the Washington State Bar, bulletized & combined some duplicate material. I think the most important part is to emphasize that each state & territory sets its own rules ... ... I also included a link to WA's Law Clerk Ass'n which works on some of those issues, such as reciprocity, which are a problem (... no law degree so, often, no reciprocity!) rewinn 22:38, 8 May 2006 (UTC)rewinn

Renaming the article[edit]

I propose this article is renamed "Admission to the bar in the United States". This would allow "Admission to the bar (non-U.S.)" to drop the "(non-U.S.)". If there are no objections I will go ahead and make the change. Thanks Andeggs 07:04, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Sounds fine, just make "Admission to the Bar" into a more general article covering everywhere and then make this a "main article" link under the US section of Admission to the Bar. In fact, I'll do the move now. Peyna 22:24, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
The move has been completed; the article "Admission to the bar (non-U.S.)" will have to remain as a redirect to preserve history. I'll try to clean up any incoming links to all of these articles, but might need some help. Peyna 22:28, 1 June 2006 (UTC).
Thanks Peyna, very kind. Andeggs 06:46, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, well done Peyna! It seems to me that the next step is to move the "Admissions" content from Legal_education_in_the_United_States to this page, to eliminate redundancy. Any objections? I'll take a whack at it in a day if no-one objects rewinn 04:22, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. There is a lot of duplicative information between the articles on admission to the bar, Juris Doctor, Legal education, etc. and we should find a way to consolidate them better if possible. There might even be other articles containing very much the same info. Peyna 11:46, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Proposed merger: this article with Legal Ed in the US[edit]

  • Strong disagree -- someone tagged Legal education in the United States for a merger with this article. Bad idea: the two are completely separate issues. Legal education does not have a firm connection with going on to practice law (and thus take the bar). There is a clear line. Trust me, I've been through both ;-) --Bobak 21:28, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree completely with Bobak, two very different things. BD2412 T 21:39, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
Legal education and admission to the bar -- ce n'est pas la même chose. Definitely two different topics, deserving of separate articles. Yours, Famspear 21:44, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Strong disagree with merger. The distinction between legal education, getting admitted to the bar, and actually practicising law is often not understood by persons contemplating a career in the law. One result is many law school graduates ill-prepared as lawyers, too many of whom, sadly, end up in the disclinary process, or worse. So I say, not just no, but good golly no! rewinn 05:14, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Disagree. While they are "related" topics, they are both independent enough to support their own article. If you can't decide whether to merge or not, sometimes it helps to consider whether there exists an appropriate article name that could encompass the proposed merger. In this case, it would be difficult, and banishing one or the other topic to a subheading within the article would not be appropriate either. Peyna 13:57, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  • It appears this discussion is moot, since someone has removed the old tags. Peyna 14:08, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

CLE distinguished[edit]

Admission has almost nothing to do with CLE; CLE is a matter of continuing to be licensed and should not be mentioned in the article except, perhaps, to clarify the distinction. I have editted a recent addition to that effect. rewinn 00:50, 8 February 2007 (UTC)


I'm fairly certain that the currently stated etymology of the word 'bar' is incorrect: the term originated with the bar in Westminster Hall (home of the English Courts prior to 1870), with Sarjeants speaking in front of the bar and other lawyers speaking behind. The halls of the Inn's of Court, to the best of my knowledge, have never been seperated by a bar. I will endeavour to find a source for this; all comments welcome. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kaisersoze2000 (talkcontribs) 20:12, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Sections removed from article for discussion[edit]

Sections had read as follows:

State bar associations (distinguished)[edit]

Admission to a state's bar is not necessarily the same as membership in that state's bar association. There are two kinds of state bar associations:

Mandatory (integrated) bar[edit]

Most states, including California, Florida,Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oregon, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington, require membership in the state's bar association to practice law there. This practice is called a having a Mandatory, Unified or Integrated Bar.

In Texas, for example, the "State Bar of Texas" is an agency of the judiciary and is under the administrative control of the Texas Supreme Court. See Tex. Gov’t Code section 81.011. The State Bar of Texas is composed of those persons licensed to practice law in Texas, and each such person is required by law to join the State Bar by registering with the clerk of the Texas Supreme Court. See Tex. Gov’t Code section 81.051. See also State Bar of California.

Voluntary and private bar associations[edit]

A voluntary bar association is a private organization of lawyers. Each may have social, educational, and lobbying functions, but does not regulate the practice of law or admit lawyers to practice.

There is a statewide voluntary bar association in every state that has no mandatory or integrated bar association. There are also many voluntary bar associations organized by city, county, or by other community, such as the Hispanic National Bar Association. The American Bar Association is the voluntary bar association with the largest membership.

The two subsections show a fundamental misunderstanding of the first sentence and, as they are unsourced, I have removed them per WP:V. A bar association is by its very nature a social organization and is not the same as membership in the bar. Most states do not require an attorney to be a member of the bar association and there are constitutional issues implicated when a state does. The Texas example referred to is exactly the opposite of what it purports to prove, it is as it says membership in the bar, not the bar association. New Hampshire does in fact have a unified bar wherein an attorney pays bar dues to the Supreme Court through the association and membership in the bar association is actually mandatory, I believe this is rare. Any provisions for unified bars are likely in the state's rules of professional responsibility. Please find WP:Reliable sources. I will try to work on this later but I don't have the time right now to look for resources nationally. --Doug.(talk contribs) 02:33, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

  • Comment: I can weigh in on the situation in Kentucky, since I'm admitted there, although I don't currently practice law. The Kentucky Bar Association (KBA) IS NOT a social organization—membership in the bar and membership in the KBA are one and the same. On its official site, the KBA explicitly states that it is "an independent agency of the Supreme Court of Kentucky." The KBA is specifically named in Supreme Court Rule 3.025, and its membership is stated in SCR 3.030 as "All persons admitted to the practice of law in this state." Note that neither rule is part of the state's professional responsibility rules—those are found in SCR 3.130. — Dale Arnett (talk) 20:42, 24 May 2008 (UTC) Addition: Also, in Kentucky, local bar associations are divisions of the KBA, although membership in local associations is completely voluntary. See SCR 3.026. — Dale Arnett (talk) 08:18, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
In response to Doug: the majority of bar associations are clearly unified, integrated, or mandatory, despite the constitutional issues (see the Keller case citation and the quote from the California Constitution in the State Bar of California article, which I did most of the work on). Such organizations are clearly lawyer regulation organizations first, and social organizations second. Sounds like Doug is probably not a lawyer.--Coolcaesar (talk) 05:11, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Section replaced. Please discuss before destroying[edit]

If there are assertions in that section which you find unsourced, please use the [citation needed] tag to indicate this. Most of the assertions in the section are beyond reasonable dispute by anyone who knows the field, although of course error is possible and sourcing is highly desirable. For example "There is a statewide voluntary bar association in every state that has no mandatory or integrated bar association" is a simple statement of fact easily verified; is it REALLY necessary to provide a citation? Please discuss or use [citation needed] before deleting.rewinn (talk) 17:50, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Rewinn is correct. I concur.--Coolcaesar (talk) 06:31, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Requirements to join the bar[edit]

I was looking for information on what states require what degrees to join the bar because I am aware atleast some states do not require a law degree so I was looking for if some do or if all do not there was nothing about that-- (talk) 17:26, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

International Reciprocity[edit]

I removed a claim in the Reciprocity section that "None of the world's countries reciprocates to U.S. citizens the right which the U.S. grants to their citizens." because it was unsourced and unlikely to be true; see Admission to practice law. I would have preferred to discuss this with the editor, but it was only an IP address. At any rate, many nations seem to have sufficiently low bar admissions standards that reciprocity may be meaningless. rewinn (talk) 03:33, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Who Administers the Bar Exam?[edit]

A bit vague to simply say the exam is state administered. Indeed, much of the examination are done by the NCBE standardized tests. Overall, the state supreme courts determine who is admitted to the bar and in very many cases the court lets the SBA handle. In looking at the different organizations administering, I see a majority have a .org or .com web address. This suggests that a non-government entity is running the exams. Perhaps we should tag the article Refimprove!--S. Rich (talk) 13:33, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Actually, if you look at, most are .gov or .org. Also, notice how most states have a committee or board of bar examiners, which is NOT part of the state bar association. California and Nevada have bar exams administered by the state bar association, but they are the outliers on this one. --Coolcaesar (talk) 07:55, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Take a look at as a random example. The state supreme court appoints the members of the Board of Law Examiners, who must be members of the State Bar. With this requirement in mind, it looks like the State Bar and the Supreme Court work hand-in-glove when administering the Bar. (But I don't want that to be implied in the article.) The BLE is an entity created by the Supreme Court, and it looks like members receive their compensation from the state. But my guess is that funds for compensation (if not the actual bar examination administration) come from SBA member dues and/or fees charged to examinees. My point above was to actually narrow down the article text (away from the broad "state administered") without getting wrapped around the axle in saying exactly who administered the Bar in the various states. (P.S. your earlier correction to my previous edit was quite correct and I thank you.)--S. Rich (talk) 09:07, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Text of Bar Admission Oath Wanted[edit]

There are a substantial number of people in America who have an er uh let's just call it a "unique perspective" about the Bar Association. These people seem to think that when you become a lawyer you must swear allegiance to The Queen of England. It would help a lot to dissuade some of these people, if the actual text of a typical oath could be made available as part of this article.18:53, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

California law schools[edit]

There are 3 general types of law schools in California. First, the ABA accredited/approved schools. Those grad can take the bar in any of the 50 states. Second, the California State Bar accredited schools. Those grads can take the bar in California, and may or may not be eligible to take the bar in other states. They do not have to take the FYLS exam. Third, those students attending California State Bar registered schools are required to take the Baby Bar (FYLSE) in order to continue their 2-4th years for credit. Grads from those schools can take the California Bar, but generally may not take the bar in other states. Please do not add information which does not follow this general scheme. Thanks. --S. Rich (talk) 06:47, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

BSEEJD (talk) 16:24, 10 November 2012 (UTC) Chris Reed Srich. Got it. I was confused. I see why. The page broadly declares the requirements related to the CBA Accredited schools without giving details that might help some people understand the requirements those schools can demand. Those schools can admit students provisionally and those students are then required to take the first year exam, unlike the "registered schools" that require all students to take the exam. I was expecting the article to have a section on California Accredited law schools distinct from the section of ABA Accredited. It has only distinguished the registered schools. You may want to show a distinct section for CBA schools and provide he details on how the provisional admissions to those schools operates much like a registered school for that student. BSEEJD (talk) 16:24, 10 November 2012 (UTC)BSEEJD