If so, what are the eligibility criteria? What does this entail for the candidate’s career as regards moving to the US or getting a job there.
New York is considered one of the easiest states to take the bar as a foreign trained or in your case, African trained lawyer. The New York legal market is one of the country’s most attractive too. The requirements according to the New York State Board of Law Examiners (BOLE) for foreign trained lawyers to sit for the bar are;
Applicants must have a "qualifying degree" that satisfies the educational requirements to practice law in a foreign country. This degree must be a degree in law.
The qualifying degree must be from a law school accredited by the government of the foreign country and must be deemed qualified and approved
The applicant’s must have successfully completed a legal program of equivalent length to the Juris Doctor legal education provided by American Bar Association (ABA) accredited schools in the United States. Legal education in the US is traditionally a full-time, three year course of study – foreign lawyers, accordingly, need similar credentials.
Similarly, the program and course of study successfully completed by the applicant must be the substantially equivalent to that of the Common Law education provided by an ABA-approved law school in the United States. Other examples of countries that practice common law include The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel.
If you think you meet these requirements, you must begin your application by completing the online Foreign Evaluation Form at the
After this is approved, you are then required to complete the actual application for the exam, online, and pay the application fee of $750.
Like someone already mentioned, there are other states that allow foreign trained lawyers, the process is similar with what you get in New York. Apply to have your credentials assessed online, if accepted, apply to sit for the bar.
Yes, foreign trained lawyers can sit for the bar in many US states. These states include Texas, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington. The major steps are;
Confirm your eligibility for the US state bar
Apply for the exam
Complete the character and fitness application
Submit notarized authorization and release (A&R) form
Pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
Pass the bar exam.
Hi, deciding to take the bar in the US is a great decision, and successfully passing the bar comes with many benefits. You should know that most international students who study for LL.M degrees in the US do so with the intention of taking a US bar exam.
First, let us establish some facts. There is no *US Bar*, like you have it in most African countries, rather, in the US, every state has its own bar, and as such, one must be a member of the state’s bar to practise law in the state, one of the requirements is passing the bar in said state. So, you should consider which state’s bar you will like to take, because this is effectively where you will practise law. There are many considerations to help you decide which state, but that’s a different discussion.
It is relatively easy to take the bar in some states than others, as a foreign trained lawyer. Please note that is not easy for a foreign or African trained lawyer to sit and pass the bar in the US. Even completion of your LL.M degree in the US is not an automatic ticket to qualify to sit for the bar. States like New York, California, New Hampshire, Alabama and Virginia allow foreign trained lawyers to sit for their bar, while other states require a J.D (Juris Doctor) degree from a US law school in order to sit for the bar exam.
The process is also straightforward in the states that allow foreign trained lawyers to sit. The students must begin the process of getting their law degree reviewed by the American Bar Association, and this process can take upto a year, so it’s advised that you start this early. Upon review, your application is either accepted or rejected; if accepted, you are then allowed to sit for the bar under same conditions as domestic candidates.
Regarding what it means for your career? Well, international exposure, and the prospect of getting jobs in the US as a fully admitted attorney, not just legal clerk or international legal consultant jobs.