Thread: Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school?

  1.   Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school? #1
    Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school?

  2.   Re: Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school? #2
    Yes you can, but you have to work really hard for it

    I actually found some really cool articles online with the help of Michael P. Ehline's post:

    This article on how to become an attorney without college training or a law school degree is not intended to be a law school bible. This is simply one man's story of becoming a California criminal defense and personal injury consumer attorney in California by "reading"for the law on the California State Bar - Law Office Study Program (LOSP).

    I was able to become an attorney on the California State Bar Law Office Study Program without a law school degree, or a college degree by taking the CLEP and then passing the California First Year Law Student's Examination (aka "Baby Bar"). Passing the Baby Bar qualified me to sit for the California Bar Examination three (3) years later.

    Some of the People and Organizations Responsible for Helping Me Become a Lawyer Without Law School Degree and Becoming an Attorney Without a College Degree on the Law Office Study Program
    At the outset, I want to thank Nathalie Hope at the California State Bar Law Office Study Program for all of her help in administering my Law Office Study experience. I also want to thank all of my supervising attorneys who made it possible for me to try and become an attorney without law school as follows: Jeff Price, Dave Olan, Patrick Milne and Otto Haselfhoff, who agreed to teach me the law in a law office. I want to thank Paul Pfau at Cal Bar Tutorial Review for teaching me how to take and pass the Baby Bar with no law school or college degree and to take and pass the California General

    Bar Exam with no law degree (aka Juris Doctorate)
    Dedicated to the U.S. Marine Corps. and Mustang Officers

    Last, but not least, I want to dedicate this article to the organization that instilled in me the spirit and discipline to become a lawyer without law school degree or college degree as follows: Chesty Puller, the U.S. Marine Corps. - the nations most elite fighting force - and all mustangers who came up through the ranks of civilian and military life without law school or college. I am a mustang lawyer. Ooorah to the mustangs!

    How Can I Become an Attorney Without Law School? [Too Good to be True?]
    You too can become an attorney with no college or without setting foot in law school in California, and several other states. There are probably a lot of folks out there who insist you need law school or college to be an attorney.

    There are a few states like California who disagree and instead think that you should be able to become a lawyer without law school. Although the ABA discourages letting you become an attorney with no law school (e.g., learning law in a law office), this was in fact the traditional way to become a lawyer until the creation of expensive law schools like Harvard, in the 1800's.

    Dangers of American Bar Association (ABA) Resistance Against Allowing Qualified Bar Candidates to Become a Lawyer With No Law School

    Many people feel the American Bar Association ("ABA") is a cadre of elitists who know better than you. This would explain why the ABA apparrently thinks classroom education by a professor is better than real life experience.

    Most states have apparrently surrendered to the the ABA, as they have disallowed "reading" for the law under the traditional apprenticeship methods. But because little is known about these programs and since many with traditional law degrees [paying sometimes $100,000 or more] thumb their noses at the original method, few people actually are involed in Law Office Study at a given time.
    Since 1980, 436 people have registered for the apprentice program — known as law office study — with the State Bar of California and only 64 have passed the bar exam. Bar officials estimate that fewer than 30 people are pursuing the program at any given time. (Source LA Times)

    The American Bar Association's ABA Code of Recommended Standards dictates that: "neither private study, correspondence study or law office training, nor age or experience should be substituted for law school education."(ABA Standards)

    Thankfully, you can still take the Bar Exam with no law school or college in a few states. In California, you can pass the bar exam with no law school or college at all.
    What States Allow You to Become a Lawyer Without Law School?

    As far as I am aware, seven states in the U.S. allow reading for the law without law school as follows: California; Maine; New York; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; Wyoming.

    Although this article focuses of California, a few of the above states have basic educational requirements prior to admission into the Bar. In California, this is known as the Law Office Study Program.

    California:
    "Applicants who obtain legal education by . . . law office study must have four years of law study and take an examination after their firstyear. Applicants who pass the examination within three consecutive administrations of first becoming eligible to take it will receive credit for all law study completed to the date of the examination passed."

    Maine:
    "Applicants may have . . . completed 2/3 of graduationrequirements from an ABA-accredited law school and within 12 months after successful completion pursued the study of law in the law office of an attorney in active practice of law in Maine on a full-time basis for at least one year . . . ."

    New York:
    "Law office study permitted after successful completion of one year at an ABA-approved law school."(See also)

    Vermont:
    "Four-year law office study program; must have completed three-fourths of work accepted for a bachelor's degree in a college approved by the Court before commencing the study of law"

    Wyoming:
    "Law office study permitted as a structured course comparable to 2 years at an ABA-approved law school Prior approval of independent study required."
    No special requirements are needed to become an attorney without law school in Virginia or Washington as far as I could determine.

    All of the above information came from the "Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements 2004," published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. (Source)

    Law Office Study is how Abraham Lincoln and many other famous lawyers became attorneys.They learned by doing.

    Importance of the Bar Exam Iteslf - ABA Resistance to Law Office Study - Is the Law Office Study Program in Danger of Extinction?

    I personally feel that the Bar Exam is a helpful way to measure acceptability to the Courts via the California State Bar. I disagree with the ABA that people should not be allowed to take the Bar without law school. I equally disagree that people shouldn't be allowed to pass the Bar Exam without college or law school, who are otherwise qualified.

    Tips:
    Study law under an attorney who practices in the field of law that you want to practice in once you pass the Bar Exam. You will always have work when you finally pass the Bar Exam. This equals freedom!
    Cal Bar Tutorial Review - Paul Pfau the Legal Guru Tutor (CBTR):

    Contact Paul Pfau at Cal Bar Tutorial Review and learn how to write for the Bar Exam. Paul Pfau is the law guru who taught me how to pass the Baby Bar with no college and to pass the California State Bar Exam with no J.D. If I could become a California lawyer - the hardest bar exam in the nation, bar none - with no law school degree with Paul Pfau's help, so can you. Paul Pfau was my law school bible.

    Other Questions or Comments, Please send Los Angeles personal injury attorney, Michael Ehline a question or comment and he will check in when he is not in trial or deposition and get you the answer. You may also go to the Ehline Law website to learn more about becoming an attorney with no law school - degree, or becoming a lawyer with no college: http://www.ehlinelaw.com/

  3.   Re: Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school? #3
    Can I lose weight without exercising or changing my diet? I want to be skinny without the inconvenience of a change in my lifestyle.

    Seriously though, yes you can.

    In California, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, an applicant who has not attended law school may take the bar exam after study under a judge or practicing attorney for an extended period of time.
    This method is known as “reading law” or “reading the law”.
    New York requires that applicants who are reading the law must have at least one year of law school study. (See Rule 540.4 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys.)
    Maine allows students with two years of law school to serve an apprenticeship in lieu of completing their third year.

  4.   Re: Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school? #4
    Yes you can. The requirements to practice Law in California are posted on the California Bar Association's website. You can also look at the past results for Bar passage to see how well others who haven't gone to law school have preformed on the bar exam. If you are worried about the LSAT's or law school, I would suggest applying to a lower ranked schools. From what I have seen, it seems to take longer to meet the requirements without going to law school.

    Good Luck,

  5.   Re: Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school? #5
    Anonymous
    Is there a book you can get to prepair for the bar?

  6.   Re: Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school? #6
    Anonymous
    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous View Post
    Is there a book you can get to prepair for the bar?
    You could start with a dictionary.

    bah-dum CHING!

  7.   Re: Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school? #7
    Anonymous
    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous View Post
    You could start with a dictionary.

    bah-dum CHING!
    You made my year... *tear* I think I love you.

  8.   Re: Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school? #8
    Danillo,

    If one was to pass the CA Bar Exam, could that person then apply to take the Bar in a state that follows ABA-standards?

  9.   Re: Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school? #9
    Sier Tutoring
    The following is the information which you are looking for. For all your bar examination and law school preparation needs please see: Flash Intro Page.

    Below is a summary of the requirements to be admitted to practice law in California:

    PRE-LEGAL EDUCATION

    A minimum of two years of approved college work or its equivalent by passage of designated examinations, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), administered by the College Board.

    REGISTRATION

    Students must register with the Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE). In addition, registration is mandatory for attorneys from other jurisdictions who wish to apply to practice in California. The registration application should be filed online before a moral character application or an examination application is filed.

    LEGAL EDUCATION
    •J. D. degree from a law school accredited by the State Bar of California or approved by the ABA;
    •Four years of study at a fixed-facility law school registered with the Committee;
    •Four years of study, with a minimum of 864 hours of preparation and study per year, at an unaccredited distance-learning or correspondence law school registered with the Committee;
    •Four years of study in the law office/judge’s chambers study program; or
    •A combination of these methods.

    MORAL CHARACTER

    Applicants must undergo a background check and receive a positive moral character determination. Moral character determination applications may be submitted during the first year of law study, and should be submitted no later than the beginning of the last year of law study.

    EXAMINATIONS

    Applicants must pass several examinations. The requirements are:
    •Passage or exemption from the First-Year Law Students’ Examination;
    •Passage of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners; and
    •Passage of the California Bar Examination.

  10.   Re: Can I take the bar exam/be a lawyer without going to law school? #10
    Anonymous
    Quote Originally Posted by sb03649 View Post
    Danillo,

    If one was to pass the CA Bar Exam, could that person then apply to take the Bar in a state that follows ABA-standards?
    I'm curious to see the answer of this question as well. For instance I want to live in Wisconsin, but I am interested in becoming a lawyer without law school. Could I become a lawyer and pass the Bar exam in a state that allows you to take the test by reading the law, and then move to whichever state I prefer (in this case Wisconsin) and become licensed to practice law there?

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