Reciprocity


Many states open the practice of law to out-of-state applicants who have already been admitted to the bar of another state. While each state establishes its own criteria for admission, reciprocal agreements between states are common. Depending on factors such as the number of graduating law students within the state, geographic desirability (high demand for “Sunbelt” states like California, Florida, and Arizona), or average earnings compared to other states, etc., state bars may lower or raise the threshold for admission of external candidates. Some may require prospective candidates to take the state’s bar exam; others will accept a combination of passing results on the Multi-state bar examination and a minimum number of years’ in practice in another state. For example, as of January 2005, the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont entered into a reciprocity agreement allowing attorneys to be admitted to one another’s bars without taking the bar examination for that state. The geographic proximity of the states and the frequent representation by law firms of corporations who operate in all three states prompted the change.

ALABAMA: The state does not offer reciprocity.

ALASKA: The state has reciprocity agreements with the following other states: CO, CT, DC, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NY, ND, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WY.

ARIZONA: The state does not offer reciprocity.

ARKANSAS: Admission by motion went into effect in October 2004.

CALIFORNIA: The state does not offer reciprocity, but offers a shorter bar examination for attorneys licensed in other states with good standing for at least four years prior to application.

COLORADO: Other states have to reciprocate for Colorado lawyers.

CONNECTICUT: Other states have to reciprocate for Connecticut lawyers.

DELAWARE: The state does not offer reciprocity.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Lawyers who have been admitted for five years in another jurisdiction immediately preceding application for admission in DC can be admitted without examination; other lawyers can be admitted without examination if they graduated from an ABA accredited law school and obtained certain minimum scores on the Multi-state Bar Examination and the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination.

FLORIDA: The state does not offer reciprocity.

GEORGIA: Georgia offers a shorter bar examination for lawyers admitted by examination and in good standing in another state for at least twelve months prior to taking its Attorneys’ Examination. Also offers admission without examination for lawyers from reciprocal states who have practiced at least five years.

HAWAII: The state does not offer reciprocity.

IDAHO: Offers reciprocity only to certain lawyers licensed in Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. However, lawyers who have actively practiced law for at least five of the last seven years immediately preceding their applications for admission do not have to take and pass the Multi-state Bar Examination, but must take and pass the remainder of the Idaho bar examination.

ILLINOIS: Has reciprocity agreements with the following states: AK, CO, CT, DC, GA, GU, IN, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NMI, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, USVI, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

INDIANA: Has no formal reciprocity but provisionally admits lawyers who have practiced law for five years of the seven years immediately preceding their applications for admission without taking and passing the Indiana bar examination.

IOWA: Lawyers who have practiced law for five full years of the seven years immediately preceding their applications for admission to practice law in Iowa can be admitted to practice without taking and passing the Iowa bar examination.

KANSAS: Does not have reciprocity.

KENTUCKY: Kentucky has reciprocity agreements with the following states: AK, CO, CT, DC, GA, IL, IA, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT, WA, WV, WI, WY.

LOUISIANA: Has no express reciprocity agreements, but provisionally admits certain lawyers from other jurisdictions under special criteria.

MAINE: As of January 2005, the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont entered into a reciprocity agreement allowing attorneys to be admitted to one another’s bars without taking the bar examination for that state. Shorter bar examination for lawyers in good standing in another state for at least three of the preceding five years prior to admission to practice law in Maine; shorter bar examination for lawyers in good standing in another state depending on passing score on MBE within sixty-one months of the current administration of the Maine bar examination.

MARYLAND: Has no formal reciprocity agreements, but offers shorter bar examination for lawyers in good standing in another state for at least five years of the ten years prior to application for admission in Maryland.

MASSACHUSETTS: To gain license in this state, an applicant must have been admitted to practice in another state, district or territory for at least five years prior to application for admission and be in good standing in each such state, district and territory. An applicant must be a graduate of a law school which at the time of graduation was approved by the American Bar Association or was authorized by a state statute to grant the degree of bachelor of laws or juris doctor.

MICHIGAN: Lawyers who have actively practiced law for three of the five years preceding their applications for admission can be admitted to practice in Michigan without taking and passing the Michigan bar examination.

MINNESOTA: Lawyers who have been, as their principal occupation, actively and lawfully engaged in the practice of law in another jurisdiction for at least five of the seven years immediately preceding application may be admitted without examination; other lawyers may be admitted based on a minimum passing score on the Multistate Bar Examination if they apply within two years of the date they passed that test in another jurisdiction

MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi has a very limited reciprocity admission rule with states who will offer similar reciprocity to Mississippi lawyers. Lawyers from other states who have practiced at least five years may be admitted after taking and passing an attorney’s examination.

MISSOURI: Will admit lawyers from states that have similar reciprocity for Missouri lawyers.

MONTANA: The state does not offer reciprocity.

NEBRASKA: Lawyers who have graduated from an ABA accredited law school and who have passed a bar examination comparable to Nebraska’s, including the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination, or who have graduated from an ABA accredited law school and who have actively and substantially practiced law for five of the last seven years prior to application for admission can be admitted to the practice of law in Nebraska without having to take and pass a written bar examination.

NEVADA: Does not have formal reciprocity agreements with any states.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: As of January 2005, the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont entered into a reciprocity agreement allowing attorneys to be admitted to one another’s bars without taking the bar examination for that state. This state also has reciprocity with the following states: AK, CO, DC, GA, KY, MA, MN, MO, NB, NY, NC, ND, OK, PA, TX, UT, WA;

NEW JERSEY: The state does not offer reciprocity.

NEW MEXICO: The state does not offer reciprocity.

NEW YORK: Has reciprocity with the following states: AK, CO, DC, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

NORTH CAROLINA: Has reciprocity agreements with the following states: AK, CO, CT, DC, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NY, ND, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY.

NORTH DAKOTA: Does not have formal reciprocity, but lawyers who have been admitted to the bar of another state or the District of Columbia for at least five years and who have been actively engaged in the practice of law for at least four of the last five years immediately preceding their applications for admission can be admitted on motion without examination. Applicants receiving particular scores on the Multi-state Bar Examination and Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination may also be admitted on motion if their applications are received by the North Dakota Bar Board within two years of the date of the MBE examination if they were admitted in the jurisdiction in which they took that test.

OHIO: This state does not have formal reciprocity agreements with other states. However, it provisionally admits (without examination) applicants who have taken and passed a bar examination and been admitted as a lawyer in the highest court of another state or in the District of Columbia, and who have practiced law, as defined in the rule, subsequent to that admission for at least five full years of the ten years prior to filing an application. Applicants also must demonstrate that they intend to engage in the practice of law in Ohio actively on a continuing basis.

OKLAHOMA: This state has formal reciprocity agreements with the following states: AK, CO, CT, DC, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NY, NC, ND, OH, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

OREGON: This state has formal reciprocity agreements with the following states: Alabama      Alaska     Arizona     Arkansas     Colorado     Connecticut     District Of Columbia     Georgia     Idaho     Illinois     Indiana     Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota     Mississippi     Missouri     Nebraska     New Hampshire     New York     North Carolina     North Dakota     Ohio     Oklahoma     Pennsylvania     South Dakota     Tennessee     Texas     Utah     Vermont     Virginia     Washington     West Virginia     Wisconsin     Wyoming

PENNSYLVANIA: This state has reciprocity with the following states: AK, CO, CT, DC, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

RHODE ISLAND: This state will provisionally admit persons admitted to the practice of law in another state, district or territory of the United States who have actively engaged in the practice law (including teaching law) there for at least five years of the last ten years immediately preceding application for admission to Rhode Island, and after taking and passing the essay portion of the Rhode Island bar examination.

SOUTH CAROLINA: : Does not have formal reciprocity agreements with any states.

SOUTH DAKOTA: This state has a reciprocity agreement that went into effect in 2004. Applicants must show five years prior practice in prescribed areas.

TENNESSEE: This state will provisionally admit applicants who meet the educational requirements applicable to Tennessee bar examination applicants and have actively engaged in the practice of law in another jurisdiction for at least five years immediately preceding their applications for admission in Tennessee.

TEXAS: This state has limited admission for certain lawyers to be admitted without examination and after passage of the full student examination.

UTAH: Has reciprocity agreements with the following states: AK, CO, CT, DC, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WY.

VERMONT: As of January 2005, the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont entered into a reciprocity agreement allowing attorneys to be admitted to one another’s bars without taking the bar examination for that state. Otherwise, lawyers who have been admitted to the practice of law in another jurisdiction of the United States may be admitted upon motion and without examination provided that at the time of application they have been actively engaged in the practice of law for five of the preceding ten years in one or more jurisdictions of the United States, are currently licensed to practice in at least one such jurisdiction, and are not under suspension or revocation in any jurisdiction. Any or all of the five-year admission requirement may be waived in certain circumstances. Additionally, each applicant who at the time of application has been admitted in another state and has engaged in the practice of law for less than five of the preceding ten years, and who is currently licensed to practice in at least one such jurisdiction, and is not under suspension or revocation in any jurisdiction may be admitted after examination as described in Vermont Admission Rule 6(a)-(e).

VIRGINIA: Virginia will provisionally admit lawyers from other states who reciprocate for Virginia lawyers.

WASHINGTON: This state has formal reciprocity agreements with the following states: AK, CO, CT, DC, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WV, WI, WY.

WEST VIRGINIA: This state has reciprocity agreements with the following states: CO, CT, DC, IL, IN, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NY, NC, ND, OK, PA, TX, VT, VA, WA, WI.

WISCONSIN: Wisconsin will offer provisional admission to practicing lawyers from states that reciprocate for Wisconsin lawyers.

WYOMING: Wisconsin will offer provisional admission to practicing lawyers from states that reciprocate for Wyoming lawyers.