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Summary: Finding a legal job in another state is possible with or without passing the bar exam when following the guidance of this information provided by Harrison Barnes.

Read A Comphrensive Guide to Bar Reciprocity: What States Have Reciprocity for Lawyers and Allow You to Waive into the Bar to learn more.


Attorneys move to other states just like everybody else. Restricting their job search to one state because it is the only one they are currently licensed in is a mistake. While passing the bar exam in a given state is preferable, there are other options.

If you happen to be a law school graduate, it is highly recommended that you pass the bar exam for at least one state to increase your employment opportunities. Without having the bar exam passed in one state, employers will wonder why and assume you are not smart enough or hardworking enough to pass. Several states are moving to a Uniform Bar Exam.

When you live in a metropolitan area or along the border of two states, it would be wise to take multiple bar exams right after graduating from law school. States where this is common plan their bar exams at different times to allow for people to do this.

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When it comes down to moving after being admitted into one state, some states allow for you to “waive” into the bar of that state. Every state has their own rules when it comes to what an attorney can do when moving across lines, so you need to do your research.

There are times when being admitted in the state is not necessary for employment. Working on in-house corporate work does not always require passing that state’s bar exam. There are some corporate jobs that only desire a legal background like a J.D. degree. In the end, having passed the bar exam in any state is going to be better than nothing.




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