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California Admission Laws

California’s Bar admissions laws are found in the California Business and Professional Code.  All applicants to the California Bar must have graduated from a law school accredited by an examination committee, or American Bar Association.   Students at unaccredited law schools must take a preliminary Bar exam at end of their first year of law school.  The California Bar exam includes: Multistate Bar Examination, California essay questions, and performance Test.  The State Supreme Court is the admitting authority.

The minimum age of an applicant is 18 years.  Every attorney who is eligible to practice under the California Bar Association must undergo 25 hours of mandatory continuing legal education every 36 months.

Attorneys of other states can be admitted to practice under California Bar provided they: (1) meet age and moral character requirements; (2) be admitted before highest court in sister state or foreign country; (3) have actively engaged in practice of law four of last six years.  However, other state applicants may have to take attorney exam, if they are not admitted as attorneys in other jurisdiction.  There is no residency requirement.

Cal Bus & Prof Code § 6070 reads:

“§ 6070.  Establishment of program
(a) The State Bar shall request the California Supreme Court to adopt a rule of court authorizing the State Bar to establish and administer a mandatory continuing legal education program. The rule that the State Bar requests the Supreme Court to adopt shall require that, within designated 36-month periods, all active members of the State Bar shall complete at least 25 hours of legal education activities approved by the State Bar or offered by a State Bar approved provider, with four of those hours in legal ethics. A member of the State Bar who fails to satisfy the mandatory continuing legal education requirements of the program authorized by the Supreme Court rule shall be enrolled as an inactive member pursuant to rules adopted by the Board of Governors of the State Bar.”

Cal Bus & Prof Code § 6060 reads in part:

“§ 6060.  Qualifications for applicants
To be certified to the Supreme Court for admission and a license to practice law, a person who has not been admitted to practice law in a sister state, United States jurisdiction, possession, territory, or dependency or in a foreign country shall:

(a) Be of the age of at least 18 years.

(b) Be of good moral character.

(c) Before beginning the study of law, ….”


Inside California Admission Laws