ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

The requirements to practice law in California are specified in the
Rules of the State Bar of California, Title 4, Division 1
(Admission to Practice Law in California). 

Below is a summary of those requirements:

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:

FAMILY SUPPORT COMPLIANCE

Applicants must comply with any California court-ordered child or family support obligation.

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER REQUIREMENT/EXEMPTION

Applicants must provide their Social Security number as part of the registration process, or request an exemption.