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 need to provide a Social Security number. Applicants who do not have a Social Security Number are required to submit a form requesting an exemption.
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. Beginning in July 2017, the exam will be given over two days.
First-year 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 Committee of Bar Examiners- or an American Bar Association-accredited law school 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 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.