The American Bar Association (ABA), the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the United States, is the institution responsible for accrediting law schools. Graduates of ABA-accredited law schools are guaranteed the opportunity to sit for the bar examination in all 50 states. In California, there are more than 40 law schools that are not accredited by the ABA, but whose graduates are certified and permitted to sit for the California Bar Examination. Depending on laws set forth by other state bar associations, graduates of California non-ABA accredited law schools may or may not be permitted to sit for other state bar examinations.
States That Limit Eligibility to ABA-approved Schools Only
Eighteen state bar associations limit eligibility to sit for the state bar examination solely to graduates of ABA-accredited law schools. Graduates of California law schools not accredited by the ABA are not permitted to take the bar examination in the following states: Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota.
States That Permit Non-ABA Schools but Prohibit California Non-ABA Schools
Three states only permit in-state non-ABA accredited law school graduates to sit for their bar examination. Because these state bars do not have a reciprocal relationship with the California Bar Association, graduates of California non-ABA law schools may not sit for the bar examination in Alabama, Nevada and Tennessee.
States with Educational Requirements for California Non-ABA Graduates
Two states and the District of Columbia impose additional educational or vocational requirements on non-ABA law school graduates. While the number of classes varies, California non-ABA graduates will need to take classes from an ABA-accredited law school before being permitted to sit for the bar examination in the District of Columbia, Vermont and Wisconsin.
States with Vocational Requirements for California Non-ABA Graduates
Three states require graduates of California non-ABA law schools to actively practice as a lawyer in California for a certain number of years before sitting for the bar examination in Colorado, Massachusetts and Nevada.
States That Permit California Non-ABA Graduates After Passing the California Bar
Nineteen states permit California non-ABA law graduates to sit for their state bar examination if the graduate has passed the California bar examination and has practiced for a certain number of years. These states are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.