District of Columbia Admission Laws

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals is responsible for admission of attorneys to the state’s Bar.  The Court appoints a standing committee known as the Committee on Admissions.  An applicant should have graduated from an American Bar Association approved law school with a juris doctor or LL.B degree.  An applicant who graduated from a law school not approved by the American Bar Association shall be permitted to take the Bar examination only after successfully completing at least 26 semester hours of study, in the subjects tested in the Bar examination, in a law school approved by the American Bar Association.  The Bar exam consists of both the essay and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) sections.  A minimum scaled score of 75 is required on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.  The Rule does not prescribe a Minimum Continuing Legal Education requirement for admission to the Bar.

An out of the state attorney should be a member in good standing of a Bar of a Court of general jurisdiction in any state or territory of the United States for a period of five years immediately preceding the filing of the application to the District of Columbia Bar or should have a J.D. or LL.B. degree from a law school approved by the American Bar Association.  S/he should have been admitted to the practice of law in any state or territory of the United States upon the successful completion of a written bar examination with a scaled score of 133 or more on the Multistate Bar Examination.  S/he should also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.

D.C. Ct. App. Rule 46 – Admission to the Bar.

(a) Committee on Admissions. The court shall appoint a standing committee known as the Committee on Admissions (hereafter the Committee) consisting of seven members of the Bar of this court, one of whom shall serve as counsel to the Committee. Each appointment shall be for a term of three years. In case of a vacancy caused by death, resignation or otherwise, a successor appointed shall serve the unexpired term of the predecessor member. When a member holds over after the expiration of the term for which that member was appointed, the time served after the expiration of that term shall be part of a new term. No member shall be appointed to serve longer than two consecutive regular three-year terms, unless an exception is made by the court.
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(3) Proof of Legal Education in a Law School Approved by the American Bar Association. An applicant who has graduated from a law school that at the time of graduation was approved by the American Bar Association or who is certified by the dean of such law school as being eligible for graduation shall be permitted to take the bar examination. Under no circumstances shall such an applicant be admitted to the Bar without first having submitted to the Director a certificate that the applicant has graduated from an approved law school with a J.D. or LL.B. degree.
(4) Law Study in Law School Not Approved by the ABA. An applicant who graduated from a law school not approved by the American Bar Association shall be permitted to take the bar examination only after successfully completing at least 26 semester hours of study in the subjects tested in the bar examination in a law school that at the time of such study was approved by the American Bar Association. All such 26 semester hours shall be earned in courses of study, each of which is substantially concentrated on a single tested subject.
(5) Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. An applicant for admission by examination shall not be admitted to the Bar unless that applicant has also taken an examination on the Code of Professional Responsibility given under the auspices of the Multistate Bar Examination Committee of the National Conference of Bar Examiners and received thereon a minimum grade as determined by the Committee on Admissions. Arrangements to take said examination, including the payment of any fees therefor, shall be made directly with the Multistate Bar Examination Committee of the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The score received on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) shall not be used in connection with the scoring of the bar examination. There shall be no limit to the number of times an applicant may take the MPRE.

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(8) General Considerations Regarding the Examination.
(i) Applicants shall be examined on both the essay and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) sections at the examination site designated by the Committee.
(A) An applicant may request the Committee to accept a prior MBE administration provided that:
1. The prior MBE scaled score is not less than 133;
2. The subjects of the prior MBE are identical to those comprising the present MBE section; and
3. The prior administration was within 25 months of the present administration.
(B) An applicant may request the Committee to accept a prior essay administration in the District of Columbia provided that:
1. The prior essay scaled score is not less than 133; and
2. The prior administration was within 25 months of the present administration.

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(1) Application. An application of an applicant seeking admission to this Bar from another state or territory shall be typewritten and submitted on a form approved by the Committee and filed with the Director. The contents of the application shall be confidential except upon order of the court.
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(3) Admissions Requirements. Any person may, upon proof of good moral character as it relates to the practice of law, be admitted to the Bar of this court without examination, provided that such person:
(i) Has been a member in good standing of a Bar of a court of general jurisdiction in any state or territory of the United States for a period of five years immediately preceding the filing of the application; or
(ii) Has been awarded a J.D. or LL.B. degree by a law school which, at the time of the awarding of the degree, was approved by the American Bar Association;
(B) Has been admitted to the practice of law in any state or territory of the United States upon the successful completion of a written bar examination and has received a scaled score of 133 or more on the Multistate Bar Examination which the state or territory deems to have been taken as a part of such examination; and
(C) Has taken and passed, in accordance with paragraph (b)(5), the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).


Inside District of Columbia Admission Laws