Today, the admission to, and regulation of, the legal profession is primarily the concern of state bar associations. Each state administers its own admissions requirements and procedures, although all states generally focus on law school completion, bar examination results, and background check.
While awaiting bar examination test results, prospective candidates for admission begin filing their applications with state bar organizations and forwarding law school and undergraduate transcripts. Bar admissions committees review the total submissions for each candidate and favorably select candidates considered qualified for practice.
Most selection decisions (or declinations) are communicated by correspondence to the applicants/candidates. The successful candidate is generally admitted to practice in a formal “swearing-in” ceremony or procedure before a court. Many states require the candidates to have “sponsors” who are attorneys already admitted to practice in that state. The newly-admitted attorneys receive personal identification numbers from the state bar, which are later generally added to their signatures on all court documents or legal proceedings handled in the practice of law.