Law School Discussion

Practicing in US Territories without taking their bar exams?

I heard a Prof say that people who go to places like Guam, but who are licensed in any other US location, can automatically practice there without sitting the local bar exam. Is this true? I am 99% sure it isn't for DC (which is also a federal territory). Anyone know for sure?

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Re: Practicing in US Territories without taking their bar exams?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2015, 07:13:51 AM »
I looked into this a while ago when a friend asked about it.

Every place is different. But there are overseas places that cannot operate their own licensing boards (Bars) and will let you "practice" based on your membership in a state bar. Don't forget there's also a difference between practice (being an attorney) vs. a clerkship (which is what most Americans are going overseas for, and doesn't require a license).

That said, I briefly looked at the Guam website, and it appears that Guam now has a bar exam with a local question of law.

Re: Practicing in US Territories without taking their bar exams?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2015, 11:39:23 AM »
I know D.C. also waiver for anyone that has passed a bar exam if you obtained a certain MBE score or have practiced law without discipline for 5 years. It is a Federal Territory and therefore even California  attorneys can waive into D.C.

I was offered a clerkship in Samoa after law school and considered it. I recall them simply allowing you to waive in if you were a member of a state bar, but like any Bar D.C. included there is a FEE!!


Re: Practicing in US Territories without taking their bar exams?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2015, 09:03:25 PM »
True, but its not just automatic right?
Some states let you waive in that way too. I know North Dakota and Montana come to mind without an exam if its within two years and a decent MBE score.

But I mean just straight up, you are ok somewhere else you can show up do whatever with no extra steps. That is how the Prof made it sound. He is ex military so I think he is confused and thinking of how JAG works on military bases and similar territories like our beachhead in cuba or on an embassy or navy vessel or whatever.

Re: Practicing in US Territories without taking their bar exams?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2015, 11:45:45 AM »
There is always a step to get a license. You will need to fill out paperwork to get a license to practice.

You need to fill out paperwork to get a drivers license. I am not aware of any place you can just show up, but it might exist.

Re: Practicing in US Territories without taking their bar exams?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2015, 01:32:59 PM »
Yeah, even if you don't need to take the bar you would still need to fill out an application for admission and probably a C&F application. Or you might have to appear in court and motion for admission. At least that's how it works in most states.

Aren't there states that will allow someone to apply for admission based on MBE scores alone? I had a friend from law school who didn't pass the CA bar, but was going to apply to (I think) Minnesota because he had a sufficiently high MBE. I thought you had to be already admitted in another state, but he said no. I don't know if that's accurate or not. 

Re: Practicing in US Territories without taking their bar exams?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2015, 04:58:17 PM »
 I am not sure how it used to be but they require you to be admitted plus the score now for all of those states. South Dakota 150, Minnesota 145, DC 133, and Nebraska lets some limited other states do it but not sure of the score required. I want to say PR is one too, but not 100% on it.

I think my prof was honestly just confused, but it sucked since he was giving LIFE AND CAREER ADVICE to people who lived in those areas and were moving back post graduation. You'd think a law prof/retired military would check............  ???

Re: Practicing in US Territories without taking their bar exams?
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2015, 01:17:17 PM »
People make mistakes and professors are wrong from time to time.  Additionally, when it comes to bar admission the only people you can believe are the people issuing the license.

There are always a bunch of rumors etc about x, y, z, but never rely on them until you check the with the actual people or organization in charge of making the decision.




Re: Practicing in US Territories without taking their bar exams?
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2015, 03:50:43 PM »
I agree, and I should point out that I'm not trying to shame this guy.......its just kind of messed up that Profs don't double check their own claims.
They are the ones grading your essays on the topics that they are WRONG about afterall............just a fun thought to think about while trying to sleep at night.