How easy is it to move between states as lawyer?

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How easy is it to move between states as lawyer?

Postby jodo35 » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:16 am

Since each individual state has their own bars, doesn't this make it very difficult?

Are there certain practices where this does not apply, or between countries such as International Law? Since many countries/states have diff. set of laws/regulations, common/case law, how mobile are lawyers generally? What type of specialties enable more mobility across state and national lines beside being an academic law prof.

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Re: How easy is it to move between states as lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:00 am

Corporate counsel (in house attorneys with only one client) often can practice for companies incorporated or doing business in states where they are not admitted. Internationally its more complicated. Some countries have great reciprocity (France) others do not (Japan). The range is broad. However, generally a US attorney is allow to practice in a foreign jurisdiction so long as the advice is regarding US legal issues for clients in that jurisdiction. Government attorneys are another practice area not limited by state bars (JAG, federal practices). Also, there may be exceptions for some pro bono services.

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Re: How easy is it to move between states as lawyer?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:28 pm

I'm not sure how updated this chart is, but it will give you an idea of the mobility you might have after passing one bar exam.


Practice areas will not exempt you from bar requirements. They are set on the basis of employment setting. In house attorneys often can get a limited license to practice in a state without having to sit for the bar exam or meet what are usually more stringent waiver criteria. That license would allow you to only practice law within the state as it relates to your employer (you couldn't take on additional clients or give legal advice to other organizations or individuals). Once you have practiced for 4-5 years many states will allow you to waive in to their jurisdiction. Some states, though, do not have waiver or reciprocity provisions and you would have to sit for the bar exam even if you had been practicing for 20 years someplace else.

In the multi-state firm setting, sometimes you don't need to be at bar in the particular state you are living in, as long as you are at bar elsewhere (it will depend on the jurisdictional rules and the nature of your practice).

Really, it's just an inconvenience to have to add new bar memberships, not a huge hurdle. Even if you have to sit for a bar again, once you have passed one, the pressure is off. Though, if you know that some day you will want to practice in an area that doesn't allow for waiver or reciprocity admission, it might be worth taking two bar exams right when you graduate.

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