Practicing lawyers in California must be licensed by the State Bar. The State Bar’s admission requirements are set by the California Business and Professions Code.
When registering with the State Bar, applicants who are eligible for a U.S. Social Security number need to provide a Social Security number under Business and Professions Code sections 30 (California’s tax enforcement provisions) and 6060.6 and Family Code section 17520 (Child Support Enforcement Program). Applicants who do not have a Social Security Number are required to submit a request for an exemption during the online registration application process by clicking here.
Registration applications and Social Security number exemption forms can also be obtained by contacting the Los Angeles Office of Admissions at 213-765-1500 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
California lawyers can meet the legal education requirement in different ways. Most receive a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from law schools registered by the State Bar (California-accredited) or approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). But there are other ways to get a legal education.
About 16,000 take the California Bar Examination, one of the State Bar's primary requirements to become a licensed attorney. Since July 2017, the exam has been given over two days.
Law students completing their first year of study in a juris doctor degree program at a State Bar-unaccredited registered law school, through the Law Office Study Program, and those without two years of college work attending a law school accredited by the American Bar Association or the California Committee of Bar Examiners must take the First-Year Law Students' Examination after completing their first year of law study.
Law students who have been advanced to their second year of law study at an ABA- or California-accredited law school and who have completed a minimum of 60 semester or 90 quarter units of undergraduate work are generally exempt from the examination.
All applicants for admission to practice law in California must receive a passing score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination and pass the California Bar Examination.
All applicants must go through a background check and receive a positive moral character determination.
Finally, applicants need to prove that they have complied with any court order for child or family support.