In the United States, law graduates are required to take a bar exam in order to practice law. Bar admission is regulated by each of the 50 U.S. states, and each state has complete discretion in the process. Some states permit foreign lawyers with a LL.M. degree to take the bar exam and be admitted to practice.
New York is a commonly selected jurisdiction which does permit foreign applications with only an LL.M. degree. Each year a group of University of Miami LL.M. graduates sit for the New York Bar Exam. The requirements for foreign-educated LL.M. students to seek admission to the New York Bar are complex, and depend upon the particular background and circumstances of each applicant. Additionally, a student’s course of study in the LL.M. program must adhere to certain guidelines (i.e., one must earn a specified minimum number of credits, and take particular courses while in the LL.M program). If an international student intends to seek admission to the New York bar following completion of an LL.M program, he or she should carefully read the New York State Board of Law Examiners Guide for Foreign Educated Students. Also required is completion of New York State’s online Foreign Evaluation Form.
Florida does not allow foreign applicants to sit for the bar exam with only an LL.M. degree. Only graduates of a three-year ABA approved American J.D. program are eligible for Bar Admission in Florida. Some foreign lawyers do get certified under a special Foreign Legal Consultancy (FLC) rule, which only allows them to counsel clients on the laws of their country of origin (and prior bar admission). The FLC rule does not seem to lead to broad job opportunities in Florida. So, if a foreign lawyer’s long-term goal is to practice law in Florida, he or she should consider Miami Law’s J.D. program. If interested, please visit the joint J.D./LL.M. page.
Other states such as Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and California may also permit foreign-educated attorneys to take the bar exam following completion of an LL.M. program in the United States. For a state-by-state analysis, please view the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission.
Practice in the U.S. - Transfer to the JD Degree Program
If an international law student or lawyer's long-term goal is to practice law in Florida or the U.S, he or she should consider doing one of the joint LL.M. + J.D. programs at University of Miami School of Law. Options include:
|J.D./LL.M. in International Law
J.D./LL.M. in Maritime Law
J.D./LL.M. in International Arbitration
J.D./LL.M.+ Intensive Legal English
|J.D./LL.M. in Real Estate/Property Development
J.D./LL.M. in Taxation
J.D./LL.M. in Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law
Additional Helpful Bar Exam Links
- Bar Exam Preparation
- Bar Admissions Overview for J.D. Students
- Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission in All U.S. Jurisdictions
- Guide to NY Bar Admission for Foreign Students
- Section 520.6 of the New York State Court Rules for Admission of Foreign Trained LL.M. Students in New York State
- Guide to Florida Bar Admission for J.D. Students
- Rules Regulating the Florida Bar