Do Clerkships Count as "Active Practice of Law" for TX Bar Admission by UBE Transfer?

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legalnovice

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Do Clerkships Count as "Active Practice of Law" for TX Bar Admission by UBE Transfer?

Post by legalnovice » Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:52 am

Not sure if this is the correct forum to post this (or if I should have posted it in the judicial clerkships forum) but here it is: This upcoming term, I am starting the second year of three years of clerkships (2 years d. ct. for different judges, 1 year COA). I am currently licensed in NYC and took the UBE there in July 2018; I practiced for one year in NYC biglaw right after. I am interested in settling down in Texas after my clerkships and would want to apply for biglaw/lit boutique jobs after my last term ending 2022. I am trying to figure out the rules on admission by UBE transfer in Texas and the rule states I could transfer my UBE score (1) within two years from the date the score was earned, or (2) within five years from the date the score was earned provided I have been actively engaged in the practice of law for the last two of the preceding three years before the transfer.

I don't have the funds right now to do #1 (since the deadline would be sometime the end of this week) so I was looking at #2. My question is whether my clerkships would count for "having engaged in the practice of law"? I found a rule on what is considered the active practice of law which I've copied below but was not sure if a judicial law clerk is considered to be a government attorney as described in the third bullet point:

- private practice as a sole practitioner or for a law firm, legal services office, legal clinic, public agency, or
similar entity;
- practice as an attorney for an individual or for a corporation, partnership, trust, or other entity with the
primary duties of furnishing legal counsel and advice; drafting and interpreting legal documents and
pleadings; interpreting and giving advice regarding the law; or preparing, trying, or presenting cases
before courts, departments of government, or administrative agencies;
- practice as an attorney for a local government or the state or federal government, with the same primary
duties described in the preceding subsection;
- employment as a judge, magistrate, referee, or similar official for a local government or the state or
federal government, provided that the employment is open only to licensed attorneys;
employment as a full-time teacher of law at an approved law school; any combination of the preceding
categories.

Any help/insight on my question and how the TX Bar considers clerkships is appreciated. If I can't transfer my UBE score in the next year or two if my clerkships don't count as legal practice, might as well bite the bullet now and figure out how to shell out 1k for the Texas bar app. Thanks.

Fireworks2016

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Re: Do Clerkships Count as "Active Practice of Law" for TX Bar Admission by UBE Transfer?

Post by Fireworks2016 » Mon Jul 13, 2020 3:16 pm

I can't offer anything definitive, but I would be shocked if TX-BLE didn't count clerkship years as the active practice of law.

kittychandler

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Re: Do Clerkships Count as "Active Practice of Law" for TX Bar Admission by UBE Transfer?

Post by kittychandler » Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:50 pm

I spoke with the TX attorney admissions office fairly recently. Judicial clerkships do count towards your "practice" time so long as you held a license during your clerkship. Hope this helps!

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polareagle

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Re: Do Clerkships Count as "Active Practice of Law" for TX Bar Admission by UBE Transfer?

Post by polareagle » Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:04 pm

Fireworks2016 wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 3:16 pm
I can't offer anything definitive, but I would be shocked if TX-BLE didn't count clerkship years as the active practice of law.
Apparently, per the post above, my instinct is wrong, but I am actually shocked that they *do* count clerkships as the active practice of law. By definition, you are not engaging in the practice of law but instead assisting a judge in his or her duties (/ law practice). That's why you don't need to be a member of any bar, or even have applied to be a member of one, to hold a clerkship.

legalnovice

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Re: Do Clerkships Count as "Active Practice of Law" for TX Bar Admission by UBE Transfer?

Post by legalnovice » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:26 am

Thanks for all your responses! I reached out to the TX bar people and although they didn’t give me a definitive answer, I credit the one response here that says so. This really helped a ton.

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