The Supreme Court of Rhode Island is the admitting body for admissions to the state Bar. The qualifications and procedures required for admission are prescribed in Article II of the Rhode Island Supreme Court Rules. Rule 1 prescribes that an applicant for admission to the Rhode Island Bar should be a citizen or legal resident of the United States. S/he should be at least 21 years of age. The applicant must have graduated from an American Bar Association accredited and approved law school. The law school should also be approved by the Board of Bar Examiners that administer the Bar exam. Admission to the Bar is through an examination. Any person who has failed a total of five (5) Bar examinations, whether in Rhode Island or of any other jurisdiction in the United States, will not be permitted to take the Rhode Island Bar examination again. The Bar examination will consist of Multi-State Performance Test (MPT), essay questions and the Multi-State Bar Examination (MBE). In addition, the applicants should also complete the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) with a scaled score of 80.
Rule 2 provides that an applicant who has been admitted as an attorney of the highest court of any jurisdiction in the United States shall only be required to take the essay and MPT portions of the Rhode Island Bar Examination. S/he should have been engaged in the active practice of law or in the teaching of law for at least five (5) years of the last ten (10) years immediately preceding the filing of his/her application. All applicants, irrespective of any exceptions, should be a citizen or legal resident of the U.S., 21 years of age and should have an intention to practice law in Rhode Island.
Pursuant to Rule 3.2, every attorney admitted to practice in Rhode Island should complete ten (10) hours of continuing legal education in each reporting year. Two (2) of the ten (10) hours should be in the area of legal ethics.
RI Sup. Ct. Art. II, Rule 1
1. Admission on examination.
Every person applying for admission to the bar upon examination shall file a written application, under oath, in the clerk’s office and shall satisfy the board of bar examiners that:
(a) He/She is a citizen of the United States or legal resident, of good character;
(b) He/She is over twenty-one years of age;
(c) If admitted, he/she intends to practice law in this state;
(d) He/She has graduated from a law school accredited and approved by the American Bar Association and approved by the board; and
(e) He/She has (or will have prior to the date of admission):
(i) Satisfactorily completed a training course sponsored by the Rhode Island Bar Association approved by the board either before examination for admission to the bar or within one (1) year thereafter. Evidence of said completion shall be filed by the applicant in a form approved by the Rhode Island Bar Association and the board signed by the course director.
(f) He/She is otherwise qualified to practice law. No person shall be permitted to take more than five (5) examinations except by special order of the Court, and the Court, as a condition of granting special permission to take further examination, shall impose upon the applicant additional educational requirements.
RI Sup. Ct. Art. II, Rule 2
2. Attorney admitted in other states.
A person who has been admitted as an attorney of the highest court of any state, district or territory of the United States for at least five (5) years who applies for admission in this State shall only be required to take the essay portion of the Rhode Island Bar Examination upon the applicant’s compliance with the following conditions:
(a) He/She shall file a written application, under oath, with the Clerk’s Office and shall satisfy the board that he or she meets the requirements of subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) of Rule 1;
(b) He/She has been engaged in the active practice of law therein, for at least five (5) years of the last ten (10) years immediately preceding filing of this application;
(c) He/She has been engaged in the teaching of law for at least five (5) years of the last ten (10) years immediately preceding the filing of his or her application;
(d) Said applicant shall provide the court with a certificate of admission from the highest judicial court of such state, district or territory, of which he/she is admitted.
RI Sup. Ct. Art. IV, Rule 3.2
(a) Except as provided in Section 3.2(b) of this rule, all attorneys admitted to practice in this state shall complete ten (10) hours of continuing legal education in each reporting year, two (2) hours of which shall be in the area of legal ethics.