Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Practicing Law Without a Degree: Washington
My brother recently told me that it was possible to be admitted to the bar in certain states without a law degree. Over the next week or two, I will file in this blog information I find on this topic. If it doesn't interest you, skip it.
For the State of Washington, see the Admission to Practice Rules (APR).
From APR Rule 3 (Applicants To Take the Bar Examination), b (Qualification for Bar Examination):
To qualify to sit for the bar examination, a person must present satisfactory proof of either (i) graduation from a law school approved by the Board of Governors, or (ii) completion of the law clerk program prescribed by these rules, or (iii) admission to the practice of law by examination, together with current good standing, in any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia or any jurisdiction where the common law of England is the basis of its jurisprudence, and active legal experience for at least 3 of the 5 years immediately preceding the filing of the application.Emphasis added.
APR Rule 6 (Law Clerk Program) is too long to quote, and this is a summary of some points. Applicants must (1) be of good moral character; (2) have a 4-year college degree; (3) be the full-time employee of a judge or lawyer in the State of Washington who will act as a tutor for only one clerk at a time; (4) make application for the clerk program to the state bar; (5) appear for an interview; and (6) pay fees. Tutors must (1) be members in good standing of the bar; (2) have at least 10 years of experience; and (3) certify the clerk's employment, the tutor's eligibility, etc. The length of study is 4 years, with 12 months of study per year, and 120 hours of study per month, including 3 hours of tutorial supervision per week. The course of study is prescribed by the bar's Law Clerk Committee. There must be monthly written examinations of the clerk by the tutor and an annual oral examination by the Law Clerk Committee. Tutors must submit monthly certificates of progress, and a final certificate of completion.