The following seven states allow admission to the bar to candidates
who meet law office study requirements but have not graduated from a
Several of those states have special requirements that apply to the
applicants for bar membership that choose law office study as their
primary qualification. Here is a summary of those special
"Applicants who obtain legal education by . . . law office study must
have four years of law study and take an examination after their first
year. 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
"Applicants may have . . . completed 2/3 of graduation requirements
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 . . . ."
"Law office study permitted after successful completion of one year at
an ABA-approved law school."
"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"
"Law office study permitted as a structured course comparable to 2
years at an ABA-approved law school Prior approval of independent
No special conditions are noted for Virginia and Washington.
All of the above information is 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.
A complete copy of that document in PDF form can be accessed using this link:
National Conference of Bar Examiners
The tables and explanatory notes that specifically speak to your
question are found at pages 10-13 of that document. They also provide
a breakdown of states that require degrees from ABA-approved law
schools, those that recognize non ABA-approved degrees under various
circumstances, as well as correspondence study and foreign law school
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installed on your computer, it can be conveniently downloaded at no
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In my initial Google searches, I found conflicting information -- some
sites indicated that eight states allowed law firm study to qualify as
a bar exam applicant, and some said seven.
For example, this site indicated that there were eight such states:
Community Legal Access BarAlt Proposal
While this site said seven:
Christian Science Monitor: The Self-made Lawyer
The latter information is more recent and from a very reliable source,
but I wanted to confirm the currency of the information from an even
more authoritative source, so I tried various Google searches to
accomplish that. The one was led me to the 2004 ABA report was the
bar admission requirements "new york"
The previous searches that led to the contradictory information
included, among others:
"bar exam" "without graduating" "law school"
"eight states" "law school" vermont
I am confident that this is the information you are seeking. If
anything is unclear, please ask for clarification before rating this