Easiest State to Become an Attorney

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Becoming an attorney has two requirements: attending law school and passing the bar examination. A few states have policies that make these steps much easier. While selecting the easiest state is somewhat subjective, these relaxed requirements make Massachusetts, California and Oklahoma some of the easiest states in which to become a lawyer.

Massachusetts

  • Most states require that potential attorneys who sit for the bar examination graduate from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. In 2008, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that test-takers who wished to sit for the Massachusetts bar did not have to meet this requirement. This permits graduates from institutions such as Concord Law School, an unaccredited distance learning school, to sit for the bar exam. ABA accreditation is a stringent process for law schools, and the ability to sit for the exam without the requirement to attend an accredited school makes Massachusetts an easier state in which to become an attorney.

California

  • California goes a step further and permits individuals to sit for the bar examination even if they have not graduated from law school. According to the California Bar, "applicants who have not attended law school may qualify to take the examination if they trained in a law office or judge's chambers for four years in accordance with certain rules and procedures and meet certain additional requirements." These additional requirements include a mandatory "First-year law students' examination," which tests the subjects typically taught in the first year of law school, and a certification from the attorney or judge with whom the applicant studied.

Oklahoma

  • Even though Massachusetts and California make it easier for potential attorneys to sit for the bar examination, passing this test in either state is a significant hurdle. Oklahoma requires that attorneys graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, but also has the easiest bar examination in the country, with 92 percent of all test-takers passing. This compares with 86 percent and 55 percent of test-takers in Massachusetts and California respectively. Oklahoma also requires a score of only 75 on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, a component of the bar examination, while Massachusetts and California require a score of 85 and 86 respectively.

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