South Dakota Admission Laws

Supreme Court of South Dakota is the admitting body that administers admission to the state Bar.  Qualifications and procedure prescribed for the admission are dealt in Chapter 16-16 on ‘licensing of attorneys and admission to practice’ under Title 16 of South Dakota Codified Laws.  § 16-16-2 prescribes that an applicant for admission to practice must be at least 18 years of age.  An applicant must be a resident of South Dakota or maintain an office in this state, or designate the clerk of the Supreme Court as his or her agent for the service of process for all purposes.  § 16-16-6 prescribes that s/he should have graduated from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.

Admission to the state Bar is through examination.  The Bar examination consists of two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) questions, six Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) questions and the Multistate Bar Exam.  In addition, the applicants will also have to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) with a scaled score of at least 75.  Pursuant to § 16-16-11, an applicant who has failed three times in the Bar examination may be permitted to take another examination only by permission of the Supreme Court.

Within the requirements of § 16-16-7.1, a non-resident attorney may be admitted to practice before the South Dakota courts if s/he is licensed to practice law in another jurisdiction within the United States.  At the same time, s/he should be employed and associated with a Bar association sponsored or government funded legal aid bureau or public defender agency within South Dakota.  Likewise, by virtue of § 16-16-7.6, an attorney licensed to practice in another jurisdiction within the United States may be admitted to practice if s/he is employed by the Unified Judicial System as its state court administrator or by the University of South Dakota law school as a full-time administrator or faculty member.

S.D. Codified Laws § 16-16-2

Qualifications

An applicant for admission to practice as an attorney or counselor at law in this state must be at least eighteen years of age, be a person of good moral character, and satisfy the requirements of the applicable rules.

Prior to admittance an applicant must be a resident of this state; or maintain an office in this state; or designate the clerk of the Supreme Court as his or her agent for the service of process for all purposes.

S.D. Codified Laws § 16-16-6

Examination by board — Educational background

All applicants for admission, except those applying pursuant to §§ 16-16-7.6 and 16-16-12.1, shall be required to pass satisfactorily an examination conducted by the Board of Bar Examiners. An applicant for permission to take an examination, in addition to the general qualifications prescribed in § 16-16-2, must furnish satisfactory evidence that he graduated from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association or that he will so graduate prior to the examination, or that he has successfully completed all of the requirements for graduation prior to the examination.

S.D. Codified Laws § 16-16-7.1

Admission of nonresident attorneys employed by legal aid bureau or public defender agency — Form of application

A nonresident attorney, licensed to practice law in another jurisdiction within the United States, while actually employed and associated with a bar association sponsored or governmentally funded legal aid bureau or public defender agency within South Dakota, may be admitted to practice before the courts of this state.

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S.D. Codified Laws § 16-16-7.6

Admission of state court or law school administrator — Application

“An attorney licensed to practice law in another jurisdiction within the United States, while actually employed by the Unified Judicial System as its state court administrator or, while actually employed by the University of South Dakota law school as a full-time administrator or as a full-time faculty member may be admitted to practice in this state….”

S.D. Codified Laws § 16-16-11

Failure to pass bar examination after three attempts

An applicant who fails three times to pass the examination may not be permitted to take another examination except by permission of the Supreme Court upon a showing that the reasons for previous failures no longer exist and there is a reasonable likelihood the applicant will pass the examination if allowed to take it.


Inside South Dakota Admission Laws