Illinois Admission Laws

Rules on admission to Illinois Bar and discipline of its attorneys are dealt under Article VII, Part A of Illinois Supreme Court Rules 701 et seq.  The minimum age set by the Illinois Supreme Court rules under Rule 701 for admission as an attorney is 21 years.  General requirements under Rule 701 are a good moral character and general fitness to practice law.  For anyone to be admitted to the Bar s/he must have completed examinations on academic qualifications and professional responsibility as prescribed by the Board of Admissions to the Bar pursuant to Rule 701.  Educational qualification for applicants seeking admission to the Bar must fulfill certain requirements as set forth in Rule 703.  Applicant must have graduated from a four-year high school or preparatory school and should successfully complete at least 90 semester hours at college or university approved by Board of Law Examiners.  After completion of his/her preliminary and college work, applicant must have pursued a course of law studies and received a first degree in law from a law school approved by the American Bar Association as stated in Illinois Court Rules 703.

As prescribed in Court Rules 704, an applicant should first receive a certificate of good moral character and general fitness to practice law before writing the bar examination.  The Board of Admissions appointed by Supreme Court is the admitting body.  Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 705, any applicants who have practiced law in any other jurisdiction for at least five of the seven years prior to making application can be licensed to practice law in Illinois.  The applicants who wish to practice law in Illinois must have passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination under Rule 705.  The Board of Admissions appointed by Supreme Court may designate the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination of the National Conference of Bar Examiners as the Illinois professional responsibility examination pursuant to Rule 704. The board may determine the score that constitutes a passing grade.

Ill. Sup. Ct., R 704

Rule 704.  Qualification on Examination

(a) every applicant for the Illinois bar examination shall file with the Board of Admissions to the Bar both a character and fitness registration application and a separate application to take the bar examination. The applications shall be in such form as the board shall prescribe and shall be subject to the fees and filing deadlines set forth in Rule 706.

(b) In the event the character and fitness registration application and the separate application to take the bar examination shall be satisfactory to the board, the applicant shall be admitted to the examination; provided, however, that the following applicants must first receive certification of good moral character and general fitness to practice law by the Committee on Character and Fitness pursuant to Rule 708 before they will be permitted to write the bar examination: (1) applicants who have been convicted of felonies; (2) applicants against whom are pending indictments, criminal informations, or criminal complaints charging felonies; (3) applicants who have been rejected, or as to whom hearings are pending, in another jurisdiction on a ground related to character and fitness; or (4) applicants admitted to practice in another jurisdiction who have been reprimanded, censured, disciplined, suspended or disbarred in such other jurisdiction or against whom are pending disciplinary charges or proceedings in that jurisdiction.
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Ill. Sup. Ct., R 701

Rule 701.  General Qualifications

(a) Subject to the requirements contained in these rules, persons may be admitted or conditionally admitted to practice law in this State by the Supreme Court if they are at least 21 years of age, of good moral character and general fitness to practice law, and have satisfactorily completed examinations on academic qualification and professional responsibility as prescribed by the Board of Admissions to the Bar or have been licensed to practice law in another jurisdiction and have met the requirements of Rule 705.

(b) Any person so admitted to practice law in this State is privileged to practice in every court in Illinois. No court shall by rule or by practice a bridge or denies this privilege by requiring the retaining of local counsel or the maintaining of a local office for the service of notices. However, no person, except the Attorney General or the duly appointed or elected State’s Attorney of the county of venue, may appear as lead or co-counsel for either the State or defense in a capital case unless he or she is a member of the Capital Litigation Trial Bar provided for in Rule 714.

Ill. Sup. Ct., R 703

Every applicant seeking admission to the bar on examination shall meet the following educational requirements:

(a) Preliminary and College Work. Each applicant shall have graduated from a four-year high school or other preparatory school whose graduates are admitted on diploma to the freshman class of any college or university having admission requirements equivalent to those of the University of Illinois, or shall have become otherwise eligible for admission to such freshman class; and shall have satisfactorily completed at least 90 semester hours of acceptable college work, while in actual attendance at one or more colleges or universities approved by the Board of Admissions to the Bar. In lieu of such preliminary or college work, the board may, after due investigation, accept the satisfactory completion of the program or curriculum of a particular college or university. Proof of preliminary education may be made either by diploma showing graduation or by certificate that the applicant has become eligible for admission to such college or university, signed by the registrar thereof. Proof of the satisfactory completion of college work may be made by certificate, signed by the registrar of the college or university, that the applicant has satisfactorily completed the required college work. In lieu of the diploma and certificates described herein, the board may accept as proof of the preliminary and college work required herein, a certificate from an approved law school that the law school has on file proof of such preliminary and college work.

(b) Legal Education. After the completion of both the preliminary and college work above set forth in paragraph (a) of this rule, each applicant shall have pursued a course of law studies and fulfilled the requirements for and received a first degree in law from a law school approved by the American Bar Association. Each applicant shall make proof that he has completed such law study and received a degree, in such manner as the Board of Admissions to the Bar shall require.

Ill. Sup. Ct., R 705
Rule 705.  Admission on Motion

Any person who, as determined by the Board of Admissions to the Bar, has been licensed to practice law in the highest court of law in any other state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia may make application to the Board for admission to the bar, without academic qualification examination, upon the following conditions:

(a) The applicant meets the educational requirements of Rule 703.
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Inside Illinois Admission Laws