Law School Online: What Are Each Specific State’s Law School Education Standards?

The below is a summary of State bar requirements in relation to law school online and whether or not their State bars permit graduates from non-American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools (such as online law schools) to sit for their State bar exams. Please take note that the below is merely for educational purposes and may change. Become-a-Lawyer.com takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the below. If you have a specific State bar exam that you eventually want to sit for after graduation from law school you should do an internet search for “[State] bar admission rules” or “[State] bar admission council” and then read the exact rules. The below information will give you a preliminary background to further investigate the state where you desire to practice law.

Alabama - Alabama permits non ABA accredited law school graduates to sit for their bar exam, however they have the burden to prove that their education met certain standards of legal education.

Arizona - Requires ABA accredited law school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Arkansas - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

California - California allows graduates from certain online law schools (and certain correspondence law schools) to sit for their bar exam, however the rules are very complicated.

California is the most liberal state in the Union regarding tolerating law school online. However, there are certain caveats you should be aware of here as well: First and foremost realize that the California Bar Exam is one of the most difficult in the United States.

There are two main sections of any bar exam, 1) essays and; 2) multiple choice test. Unlike most other states California has a minimum score on the multiple choice test that an applicant must achieve to pass their bar exam, which magnifies the difficulty of passing the California bar exam.

So then, as previously mentioned California (like every other state in the Union) accepts a law degree from any ABA accredited law school. Unlike other states California has a set of rules for graduates from correspondence and online law schools and schools unaccredited by the ABA.

Colorado - Requires ABA accredited law school attendance to sit for their state bar exam, but allows a non accredited graduate to sit for the exam if the graduate passed the bar in another state, practiced for several years and is seeking admittance (reciprocity).

Connecticut - Allows non ABA law school graduates to sit for their bar exam, but school must either be approved by CT bar committee or meet certain other standards.

Delaware - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

District of Columbia - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their bar exam.

Florida - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Georgia - ABA approved with a few exceptions

Hawaii - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam, but allows non accredited graduate to sit for the exam if the graduate passed the bar in another state, practiced for several years and is seeking admittance (reciprocity).

Idaho - Requires ABA accredited law school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Illinois - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Indiana - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Iowa - Requires ABA accredited law school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Kansas - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Kentucky Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam, but allows non accredited graduate to sit for the exam if the graduate passed the bar in another state, practiced for several years and is seeking admittance (reciprocity). No correspondence school graduates may sit for the exam.

Louisiana - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Maine - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam, but allows non accredited graduate to sit for the exam if the graduate passed the bar in another state, practiced for several years and is seeking admittance (reciprocity).

Maryland - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Massachusetts - ABA accredited law school graduates or graduates from non ABA accredited law schools authorized by statute of the Commonwealth to grant the degree of bachelor of laws or juris doctor.

Michigan - Graduates from ABA accredited law schools, or graduates form non ABA accredited law schools approved by the Board of Law Examiners as “reputable and qualified”.

Minnesota – Graduates from non ABA accredited law school may sit for the MN bar exam.

Mississippi - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Missouri - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Montana - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Nebraska - Allows non ABA accredited law school graduates if the “educational qualifications at least equal to those required at the time of application for admission by examination to the bar of Nebraska”. Further, Nebraska allows a non accredited graduate to sit for the exam if the graduate passed the bar in another state, practiced for several years and is seeking admittance (reciprocity).

Nevada - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

New Hampshire - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

New Jersey - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam. (No law school online attendees.)

New Mexico - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam, but allows non accredited graduate to sit for the exam if the graduate passed the bar in another state, practiced for several years and is seeking admittance (reciprocity).

New York - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam. (No law school online graduates.)

North Carolina - Graduates who graduate from law schools approved by the Council of the North Carolina State Bar or by the American Bar Association may sit for the North Carolina bar exam.

North Dakota - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Ohio - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Oklahoma - Graduates who graduate from law schools approved by the American Bar Association or the State Board of Bar Examiners may sit for the Oklahoma bar exam.

Oregon - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Pennsylvania - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.  (No law school online graduates.)

Rhode Island - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

South Carolina - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

South Dakota - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam. (No law school online graduates.)

Tennessee - Applicants should be a graduate of a law school accredited by American Bar Association or the Tennessee Board. The Board has the discretion to approve any law school in Tennessee not accredited by the American Bar Association, thereby permitting its graduates to take the Tennessee Bar examination.

Texas - Applicant should be a graduate with a J.D. degree or its equivalent from an “approved law school” as listed by the Texas State Bar Examiners.

Utah - Applicant should be a graduate with a J.D. degree or its equivalent from an “approved law school” as listed by the Utah State Bar Examiners.

Vermont - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.  (No law school online graduates.)

Virginia - Graduates form ABA accredited law schools or those who worked for an attorney for a minimum of 3 years may sit for the Virginia bar exam.

Washington - To sit for the Washington bar exam the applicant shall have graduated from a law school approved by the Board of Governors, or s/he must have completed a law clerk program, or should have active legal experience of at least three (3) years in any jurisdiction of the United States prior to filing of the application (reciprocity).

West Virginia - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam. (Law school online not permitted.)

Wisconsin - Requires ABA accredited school attendance to sit for their state bar exam.

Wyoming - Graduates form law schools approved by the state board of law examiners may sit for the Wyoming bar exam.

As you can see from the above information most states do not honor law school online programs and online law degrees. Thus, candidates who receive their juris doctorate degree online cannot sit for the bar exam (or practice law) in most states in the Unites States.

Most likely as time goes on and law school online matures and is not such a new program, it may become progressively more acceptable by both the academic world and employers at large. But for now if you are considering online law school, make sure you conduct a full investigation of where you can and cannot practice law with such a degree.


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