Becoming an Attorney in California

Attorney Michael Ehline
Attorney Michael Ehline

If you have decided to join the ranks of attorneys in the state of California, there are several options out there for you to become admitted to the bar. While many follow the strict path of attending law school, it is not your only option. In fact, with proper wherewithal you can make it work through a road that works with your schedule and lifestyle.

Many attorneys become admitted to the bar after they have completed generally three years of law school and receive a Juris Doctor degree (J.D.). After this a qualified candidate will have to pass the bar examination. While a JD may be advantageous, it is not your only option. Attorneys from other states are able to take the bar exam if they are already members of another state’s bar. Candidates must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination to ensure their moral character. The State of California allows other ways for qualified individuals to serve their communities by becoming an attorney.

Law Office Study Program

Others are able to do so by gaining hands-on experience in a Law Office Study Program. California law states that anyone wishing to become an attorney should have four years experience in the legal field and pass the bar exam. If you have no legal background you may enter into the program. Some students are accepted that do not have formal college training. In this case a candidate can take the College Level Examination Program.

A candidate in the Law Office Study Program must study under a judge or attorney for four years to be eligible to take the First-Year Law Students’ Examination, sometimes referred to as the “Baby Bar.” If a student passes the First Year Law Students’ Examination within three tries, they are now set to take the California Bar Exam. The California bar is no easy matter and often separates the wheat from the chaff and makes sure that only the best candidates make it to practice law in the state.