Becoming an attorney in the United States is a lengthy and challenging procedure, especially for non-US citizens. One of the biggest along the way is taking the bar exam. Appearing in the bar examination as an international student is more complicated than for native-born students in the United States.
The most prevalent hurdle is US bar exam eligibility. Read on to learn more about the US bar exam for foreigners and how to prepare for it.
US Bar Exam Eligibility
It may be difficult for lawyers with international training to take the bar exam in the US, even with an LL.M. A JD degree from an American law school is required in most states that allow foreign lawyers to take the bar exam.
Attorneys who earned their law degree outside the United States must first submit it to the American Bar Association for evaluation. The process of evaluating foreign legal credentials can take up to a year. Therefore, it is always recommended to hire reputable academic credential evaluation services.
After being evaluated, an application is either approved or put on hold. If you meet the requirements, you can take the bar exam the same way a local applicant would.
Choosing a State for the Bar Exam
In most states, you can only become licensed to practice law in the state where you pass the bar exam. Also, not all states allow foreign lawyers to take the bar exam. New York, California, New Hampshire, Alabama, and Virginia are among the states that allow foreign lawyers to take the bar exam.
There are many aspects to consider while deciding which state to take the bar exam. For example, if you want to practice law in the US after passing the bar, you should probably sit for the bar test in the state where you wish to settle. On the other hand, if you are not planning on being a practicing attorney in the States, you may want to choose a state with fewer regulations.
Regulations also vary from state to state. The New York and California bar examinations are relatively open, meaning neither state restricts admission based on a candidate’s country of origin or place of residency. However, New York is a popular destination for international students, while California is often cited as one of the most challenging states.
US Bar Exam for Foreign Lawyers: How to Prepare for It
Despite what you may think, becoming a certified lawyer in the US is within your reach. These six tips may prove helpful to law school alums and current students as they study for the bar exam:
- Benefit from Bar Exam Preparation Programs
Taking the bar exam can be a very scary prospect if you have no idea what to anticipate or how to study for it. The standard law school curriculum is sometimes insufficient to prepare students for the bar exam. So, many students take part in intensive bar review courses. Taking one of these classes is a great way to brush up on your legal knowledge and get a feel for the bar exam format.
- Create a Routine for Studying and Stick to It
Most people who intend to take the bar exam find that a study regimen is necessary, regardless of whether or not they enrolled in a bar review course. There is a lot to learn before the exam, and you can maximize preparation by creating a program that guides weekly study sessions and ensures that all information is covered.
- Practice Whenever Possible
Studying passively can be counterproductive because it prevents you from actively engaging with the content. Make every study session more than just a perusal of notes by taking the necessary steps to make it interactive. To ensure you have a firm grasp of the information, engage in exercises like writing an explanation of the issue or quizzing yourself. You can also make flashcards or draught outlines.
- Be Familiar with the MBE Process
There are 200 multiple-choice questions on the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), and many test takers find them challenging to attempt all of them. If you want to do well in the bar exam, you must spend time familiarizing yourself with the format of the questions and the types of questions that tend to throw most students off.
- Participate in Mock Tests
The vast majority of test takers prepare for the exam by taking several practice exams. Attempting sample exams can give you an idea of what to expect regarding test structure and the amount of time needed to finish different sections. It will help you gauge your pace for the real thing.
- Put Yourself First Once In A While
Some test-takers may become so preoccupied with passing the bar exam that they forget to take care of themselves as the pressure mounts. Including time for self-care during the exam preparation is essential to decrease the risk of stress reactions and health problems. Make sure you eat healthily and incorporate a daily exercise regime or visit the gym.
Take the First Step with ERES Today!
Wondering if you are eligible to apply for the bar exam? Contact ERES to find out. We specialize in foreign evaluation for New York bar, California bar, in addition to other states. Our experts can also guide you regarding the best state to take the bar exam, depending on your goals and credentials. Reach out today to learn more about our services.