DC Bar v. NY Bar?

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DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:19 pm

I'm a 3L soon to be graduating from a CCN school.

Next year I'll be working for a firm in DC before clerking in NY for a year. I may also be working this summer while studying for the bar.

Question: Which bar exam should I take? Rumor has it that the DC bar is considerably easier than NY. Is this true?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:52 pm

Well, if you take NY you can waive into the DC bar (assuming your score is high enough, but I don't think that's very high); you'd have to pay the fee/go through C&F, but not take another exam. So it never makes sense to me to take DC, but that might just be me.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:17 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Well, if you take NY you can waive into the DC bar (assuming your score is high enough, but I don't think that's very high); you'd have to pay the fee/go through C&F, but not take another exam. So it never makes sense to me to take DC, but that might just be me.


+1. Many people I know in the DC offices of NY headquartered firms took the NY bar exam.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:18 am

DC has lower first-time pass rate than NY, but doesn't have state law and fewer subjs to study for. NY requires in-person completion of CLEs during first year post-bar, DC has no CLEs. After 5 years of practice, can waive into NY. DC does not allow for laptops during exam.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby DCDuck » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:20 am

DC is supposedly a really hard bar. Take NY and waive in to DC. I don't understand why anyone would take the DC bar, since you can waive in from any other bar. It's like getting two for one. Also, some firms require you yo be admitted to specific bars; I would check with your firm to see if they have a preference.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:57 pm

I guess I'm gonna go ahead and hijack this thread.



So, I plan/hope to have my career in DC. Not biglaw. This post obviously assumes I'm not employed at graduation.

I've heard once or twice that some offices (in DC) have a shortage of VA lawyers (vs MD). Would I be slightly more attractive to DC firms if I took the VA bar?

I'm also considering taking the NY bar. I have a huge (personal) preference to try and find work in the DC metro area before trying NY (NYC, really). But I'll take work wherever I can get it once I start getting hungry. So would it be a good idea to take the bar there and open myself up to that market (and, of course, I could still waive into DC)?


Also, I have no idea what I'm talking about, so please feel free to shit over everything I just said.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:20 am

I took the NY bar, and I am currently waiving into dc. No one takes the DC bar. For the new folks at my firm, I would say we are 1/3 NY and 2/3 MD takers. We may have had 1 VA taker. The one set-back to taking the NY bar is that NY requires CLEs for the 1st two years to either be done in person or through a web seminar that allows you to interact with the presenter. This is kind of a pain in the ass. But, having a NY license is nice for lateral moves. I don't believe that Maryland has mandatory CLE requirements, which is why a lot of DC attorneys take the MD bar.

For anyone waiving into DC, be prepared for at least a 10 month application process. I submitted my app back in January, and I haven't heard a peep. The general thought is that, once you submit your application, it will be at least 8 weeks before they send you any confirmation, and it will be at least 9 months before you are given the all-clear.

Taking NY is probably your best option. Although, not having any CLEs to do would be nice.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:I took the NY bar, and I am currently waiving into dc. No one takes the DC bar. For the new folks at my firm, I would say we are 1/3 NY and 2/3 MD takers. We may have had 1 VA taker. The one set-back to taking the NY bar is that NY requires CLEs for the 1st two years to either be done in person or through a web seminar that allows you to interact with the presenter. This is kind of a pain in the ass. But, having a NY license is nice for lateral moves. I don't believe that Maryland has mandatory CLE requirements, which is why a lot of DC attorneys take the MD bar.

For anyone waiving into DC, be prepared for at least a 10 month application process. I submitted my app back in January, and I haven't heard a peep. The general thought is that, once you submit your application, it will be at least 8 weeks before they send you any confirmation, and it will be at least 9 months before you are given the all-clear.

Taking NY is probably your best option. Although, not having any CLEs to do would be nice.


Thanks for the reply. So I guess the short take is that NY is the best option b/c it's helpful for lateral moves (and presumably it also gives you a bigger market to apply to upfront).

So again I hear (from you) that there don't seem to be many lawyers in DC firms who are licensed in VA. Would you say that there is (an even somewhat) higher demand for VA licensed attorneys in DC? Or do the firms not care at all? Why are there so many more MD takers than VA takers (is it solely that it's easier?)? Is there like a brochure that I missed that explains all this? :oops:

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:39 am

TheFutureLawyer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I took the NY bar, and I am currently waiving into dc. No one takes the DC bar. For the new folks at my firm, I would say we are 1/3 NY and 2/3 MD takers. We may have had 1 VA taker. The one set-back to taking the NY bar is that NY requires CLEs for the 1st two years to either be done in person or through a web seminar that allows you to interact with the presenter. This is kind of a pain in the ass. But, having a NY license is nice for lateral moves. I don't believe that Maryland has mandatory CLE requirements, which is why a lot of DC attorneys take the MD bar.

For anyone waiving into DC, be prepared for at least a 10 month application process. I submitted my app back in January, and I haven't heard a peep. The general thought is that, once you submit your application, it will be at least 8 weeks before they send you any confirmation, and it will be at least 9 months before you are given the all-clear.

Taking NY is probably your best option. Although, not having any CLEs to do would be nice.


Thanks for the reply. So I guess the short take is that NY is the best option b/c it's helpful for lateral moves (and presumably it also gives you a bigger market to apply to upfront).

So again I hear (from you) that there don't seem to be many lawyers in DC firms who are licensed in VA. Would you say that there is (an even somewhat) higher demand for VA licensed attorneys in DC? Or do the firms not care at all? Why are there so many more MD takers than VA takers (is it solely that it's easier?)? Is there like a brochure that I missed that explains all this? :oops:


I wouldn't say there is a shortage. Several Associates and Partners at my firm are VA licensed, but the trend seems to be towards MD, at least with the group that came in with me. My guess is that new attorneys are taking advantage of not having to get any CLE credits (dc and md don't have a cle requirement). Just in case you aren't sure what CLEs are, they are continuing legal education credits that several states require all attorneys to take each year or two years. I am not sure what type of law you are looking at... I would say that a state-specific license doesn't seem to make much of a difference. If you are doing criminal or family work, having a VA or MD license would help. But, if you are doing general litigation at a big or mid-sized firm, I don't think it matters much. I could be wrong, but that is just my observation.

So, for direct answers, I don't think there is a demand for VA licensed attorneys at most bigger firms, but smaller firms may see it as a plus. My opinion is that firms just want you to get the DC license. I think there are more MD licensed attorneys because of the CLE requirements. Check out Va's CLE requirements at http://www.vsb.org/site/members/mcle-courses. I hear that VA is more difficult, but, IMHO, that should have no effect on your decision to take a state's bar. If you are determined and discipled, you will be over-prepared for the bar. No brochure that I am aware of ;).

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby synergy » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
TheFutureLawyer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I took the NY bar, and I am currently waiving into dc. No one takes the DC bar. For the new folks at my firm, I would say we are 1/3 NY and 2/3 MD takers. We may have had 1 VA taker. The one set-back to taking the NY bar is that NY requires CLEs for the 1st two years to either be done in person or through a web seminar that allows you to interact with the presenter. This is kind of a pain in the ass. But, having a NY license is nice for lateral moves. I don't believe that Maryland has mandatory CLE requirements, which is why a lot of DC attorneys take the MD bar.

For anyone waiving into DC, be prepared for at least a 10 month application process. I submitted my app back in January, and I haven't heard a peep. The general thought is that, once you submit your application, it will be at least 8 weeks before they send you any confirmation, and it will be at least 9 months before you are given the all-clear.

Taking NY is probably your best option. Although, not having any CLEs to do would be nice.


Thanks for the reply. So I guess the short take is that NY is the best option b/c it's helpful for lateral moves (and presumably it also gives you a bigger market to apply to upfront).

So again I hear (from you) that there don't seem to be many lawyers in DC firms who are licensed in VA. Would you say that there is (an even somewhat) higher demand for VA licensed attorneys in DC? Or do the firms not care at all? Why are there so many more MD takers than VA takers (is it solely that it's easier?)? Is there like a brochure that I missed that explains all this? :oops:


I wouldn't say there is a shortage. Several Associates and Partners at my firm are VA licensed, but the trend seems to be towards MD, at least with the group that came in with me. My guess is that new attorneys are taking advantage of not having to get any CLE credits (dc and md don't have a cle requirement). Just in case you aren't sure what CLEs are, they are continuing legal education credits that several states require all attorneys to take each year or two years. I am not sure what type of law you are looking at... I would say that a state-specific license doesn't seem to make much of a difference. If you are doing criminal or family work, having a VA or MD license would help. But, if you are doing general litigation at a big or mid-sized firm, I don't think it matters much. I could be wrong, but that is just my observation.

So, for direct answers, I don't think there is a demand for VA licensed attorneys at most bigger firms, but smaller firms may see it as a plus. My opinion is that firms just want you to get the DC license. I think there are more MD licensed attorneys because of the CLE requirements. Check out Va's CLE requirements at http://www.vsb.org/site/members/mcle-courses. I hear that VA is more difficult, but, IMHO, that should have no effect on your decision to take a state's bar. If you are determined and discipled, you will be over-prepared for the bar. No brochure that I am aware of ;).


Do firms usually pay for the CLE or is it usually the lawyer?

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:55 am

DC bar takes forever to waive into. Firms vary in their patience for the process. If you are hoping to get a job where you need a DC license, waiving in is not going to make you an attractive candidate.

Firms vary on whether they will pay for additional licenses or CLEs. If they don't care whether you are at bar in the alternate jurisdiction, they are not likely to pay for anything related to it. Also, CLEs are not billable hours.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:15 am

TooOld4This wrote:DC bar takes forever to waive into. Firms vary in their patience for the process. If you are hoping to get a job where you need a DC license, waiving in is not going to make you an attractive candidate.


From my limited understanding, while you're waiting to get waived in, don't you just need to say at the bottom of your emails, "Only licensed in New York. Practice supervised by members of the D.C. Bar."

What else can't you do while you're waiting for the waive-in to come through?

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:38 am

TooOld4This wrote:waiving in is not going to make you an attractive candidate.


This doesn't seem to be right. This may be true for a job seeker in dc, but it sounds like this guy has something lined up. Besides, you can practice for 360 days after you submit your application with a footnote along the lines of what TheFutureLawyer has given. Give a look at any firm's attorney profiles in DC. Just about everyone has a license in another state. With the waive-in process, taking another state's bar is a no-brainer.

Waiving in is time-consuming, but firms understand this. I would heed the above advice only if you plan on moving to dc and searching for a job.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:waiving in is not going to make you an attractive candidate.


This doesn't seem to be right. This may be true for a job seeker in dc, but it sounds like this guy has something lined up. Besides, you can practice for 360 days after you submit your application with a footnote along the lines of what TheFutureLawyer has given. Give a look at any firm's attorney profiles in DC. Just about everyone has a license in another state. With the waive-in process, taking another state's bar is a no-brainer.

Waiving in is time-consuming, but firms understand this. I would heed the above advice only if you plan on moving to dc and searching for a job.


Missed which post I was posting to. Thought this was the one from someone who was looking for a job in DC.

You are right, if you have a firm job, you don't need to worry.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:23 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:waiving in is not going to make you an attractive candidate.


This doesn't seem to be right. This may be true for a job seeker in dc, but it sounds like this guy has something lined up. Besides, you can practice for 360 days after you submit your application with a footnote along the lines of what TheFutureLawyer has given. Give a look at any firm's attorney profiles in DC. Just about everyone has a license in another state. With the waive-in process, taking another state's bar is a no-brainer.

Waiving in is time-consuming, but firms understand this. I would heed the above advice only if you plan on moving to dc and searching for a job.


Missed which post I was posting to. Thought this was the one from someone who was looking for a job in DC.

You are right, if you have a firm job, you don't need to worry.


Yeah, I don't have anything lined up yet. Still got another year, so we'll see what happens.

On the note of if you do get something lined up; does the firm usually tell you where they would prefer you to take the bar, or what?


I also still don't get why it's not smart to take the VA/MD/NY bar and then waive into DC if you don't yet have a job lined up. What aren't you going to be able to do while waiting for the waive to come through?

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:57 pm

Well... look at me making false assumptions. I got you mixed up with OP. I think TooOld4This may be on to something. Finding a job will require you to show an interest in moving to DC, and taking the DC bar will show this. Also, the waiving in process takes a while, so a firm that has its pick of the litter may take the DC licensed attorney over the NY licensed attorney. So, if you are actively searching for a job as a graduate, taking the DC bar could give you a leg up. But, I doubt a Maryland license with a pending DC app will kill your job search. If you do plan on staying in DC for a while, you can always do your 5 years and take advantage of the reciprocity DC has with several states.

Also, keep in mind that you can pass a state's bar, and not get a high enough score to waive into DC.

My assumption is that you can show an interest in moving to DC without taking the DC bar. I was registered for the NY Bar before I got my offer.

If I was planning on practicing only in DC, I would just take the DC bar. Being licensed in multiple states is practical for people who plan on moving or practicing in several states. Otherwise, you have to keep up with multiple state requirements and pay multiple state fees.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Well... look at me making false assumptions. I got you mixed up with OP. I think TooOld4This may be on to something. Finding a job will require you to show an interest in moving to DC, and taking the DC bar will show this. Also, the waiving in process takes a while, so a firm that has its pick of the litter may take the DC licensed attorney over the NY licensed attorney. So, if you are actively searching for a job as a graduate, taking the DC bar could give you a leg up. But, I doubt a Maryland license with a pending DC app will kill your job search. If you do plan on staying in DC for a while, you can always do your 5 years and take advantage of the reciprocity DC has with several states.

Also, keep in mind that you can pass a state's bar, and not get a high enough score to waive into DC.

My assumption is that you can show an interest in moving to DC without taking the DC bar. I was registered for the NY Bar before I got my offer.

If I was planning on practicing only in DC, I would just take the DC bar. Being licensed in multiple states is practical for people who plan on moving or practicing in several states. Otherwise, you have to keep up with multiple state requirements and pay multiple state fees.


Yeah I should have said that I go to school in DC and have spent/will spend both summers working here. My understanding is that is enough to show employers my commitment to staying in DC. Do you still think I'd need to take the DC bar (rather than the VA/MD bar) to show I'm set on staying in the metro area?

I have heard from one attorney that you should just take the DC bar if you're intent on staying in DC, but it seems like if I can get 2 for 1, why not?

Again, thanks for the help

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:19 pm

TheFutureLawyer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Well... look at me making false assumptions. I got you mixed up with OP. I think TooOld4This may be on to something. Finding a job will require you to show an interest in moving to DC, and taking the DC bar will show this. Also, the waiving in process takes a while, so a firm that has its pick of the litter may take the DC licensed attorney over the NY licensed attorney. So, if you are actively searching for a job as a graduate, taking the DC bar could give you a leg up. But, I doubt a Maryland license with a pending DC app will kill your job search. If you do plan on staying in DC for a while, you can always do your 5 years and take advantage of the reciprocity DC has with several states.

Also, keep in mind that you can pass a state's bar, and not get a high enough score to waive into DC.

My assumption is that you can show an interest in moving to DC without taking the DC bar. I was registered for the NY Bar before I got my offer.

If I was planning on practicing only in DC, I would just take the DC bar. Being licensed in multiple states is practical for people who plan on moving or practicing in several states. Otherwise, you have to keep up with multiple state requirements and pay multiple state fees.


Yeah I should have said that I go to school in DC and have spent/will spend both summers working here. My understanding is that is enough to show employers my commitment to staying in DC. Do you still think I'd need to take the DC bar (rather than the VA/MD bar) to show I'm set on staying in the metro area?

I have heard from one attorney that you should just take the DC bar if you're intent on staying in DC, but it seems like if I can get 2 for 1, why not?

Again, thanks for the help


Ok, it sounds like you have good ties to the city. I would take Maryland and waive in. Not having CLEs will be nice. Also, VA has a 5 year reciprocity with DC. You can waive into VA after practicing for 5 years and remaining in good standing with the DC bar. MD does not have this relationship with dc.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Ok, it sounds like you have good ties to the city. I would take Maryland and waive in. Not having CLEs will be nice. Also, VA has a 5 year reciprocity with DC. You can waive into VA after practicing for 5 years and remaining in good standing with the DC bar. MD does not have this relationship with dc.


Okay, that's pretty cool, and would explain why so many people do MD over VA.

So after you pass the MD bar, you ask to be waived into the DC bar (which takes like 9 months or so), and then after 5 years in good standing with the DC bar you get reciprocity with the VA bar.

Is there a difference between being waived into a bar (like with DC) versus getting into the state through reciprocity (like with VA)?

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby vamedic03 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:54 pm

Almost no one takes the DC bar exam (~200 exam takers in July versus 1500 in VA and 1700 in MD). As it has been noted, you can easily waive into DC following admission in any other state (so long as you do OK on the MBE).

Two things have not been noted here:
-A lot of DC region litigation takes place in VA and MD.
-Membership in the EDVA bar (but, I don't think the DMD bar) requires VA bar membership.

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:19 pm

vamedic03 wrote:Almost no one takes the DC bar exam (~200 exam takers in July versus 1500 in VA and 1700 in MD). As it has been noted, you can easily waive into DC following admission in any other state (so long as you do OK on the MBE).

Two things have not been noted here:
-A lot of DC region litigation takes place in VA and MD.
-Membership in the EDVA bar (but, I don't think the DMD bar) requires VA bar membership.


So where would you advise someone to take the bar if their major preference was for the DC metro area? VA or MD?

Could you not practice before EDVA if you only had reciprocity with VA through the DC bar (which you could get by waiving in from the MD bar)?

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Re: DC Bar v. NY Bar?

Postby Yankeelawyer » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:33 am

You can't simply waive into VA with 5 years of practice. Virginia only allows admission without exam if the attorney applicant also will be based essentially full time in a Virginia office.

At my current and former biglaw firm, for whatever reason, there were always fewer VA attorneys and always a need. The VA bar is reputed to be more difficult than MD but I can't imagine the prep is that different. Either way you have to study,

One consideration is that apart from waiving into DC, in the future you might want to waive into other jurisdictions. Some states only admission on motion to states that have similar rules. You might check to see whether you have more options as an MD lawyer or a VA one for admission on motion to other states. Google bar reciprocity ... There is a website that summarizes the relevant rules for each jurisdiction.

I would definitely take something other than DC and waive in, and if you know you want to stay in the DC metro area take VA or MD rather than NY (and NY has admission on motion once you have practiced 5 out of 7 years where you are admitted)




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