DC Bar Requirements

Eligibility for the D.C. Bar is much stricter than other jurisdictions, including New York. Foreign trained lawyers must take 26 credits of subjects tested on the D.C. Bar Exam at an ABA accredited law school. In order to waive in the D.C. Bar after fulfilling admission requirements in a different U.S. jurisdiction, the foreign lawyer must wait five years and supply proof of good standing. However, if an applicant who is qualified to take the D.C. Bar Exam has earned a minimum score of 133 on an MBE taken as part of a prior test administration within 25 months of the sought after date of examination, the applicant can request the Committee to accept that MBE outcome . The same arrangement can be requested for prior a D.C. essay administration that scored not less than 133. In other words, in D.C., it is possible to only have to take (or retake) portions of the exam that you have not previously sat for or passed. Applicants requesting acceptance of a prior section administration must submit either a duly executed MBE score and release form or an essay scaled score release form with the application to sit for the bar examination.

Applications must be typed and accompanied by a $100 fee. Late applications may be filed within 15 days of the deadlines specified in the table below, but the application fee is $200 instead of $100.

In order to be admitted to the D.C. Bar, applicants must take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)*.

Examination Application Deadline
February December 15
July May 3

One alternative available in D.C. to taking the bar exam is to seek “Special Legal Consultant” status. This may be an option for foreign trained lawyers who are admitted to practice in a country outside the U.S. and who are at least 26 years of age. Legal practice and disciplinary provisions are very strict for Special Legal Consultants, but at the Court’s discretion these individuals may be licensed to practice without examination if the foreign attorney meets the good moral character and general fitness requirements of the D.C. Bar and intends to maintain an office in the District of Columbia. A typewritten application and a fee of $450 along with:

  • A certificate of admission and good standing from the authority in the foreign jurisdiction;
  • A duly authenticated English translation of such certificate, (if not in English); and
  • A summary of laws and customs of the foreign country pertaining to the proposed scope of practice.

See: http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/documents/DCCA_Rules-1-01-11.pdf

 

* Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE):

The MPRE is administered three times each year, in March, August and November. Applications and information regarding the MPRE is available from NCBE at http://www.ncbex.org/about-ncbe-exams/mpre/.