Rule 16-16-12.1 and 12.2 of the South Dakota Rules govern admission to the South Dakota Bar for attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions. The process in South Dakota is called Admission Without Examination. Attorneys must have been actively, continuously, and lawfully engaged in the practice of law as their principal occupation for the past five years immediately preceding the application for admission.
South Dakota’s Admission Without Examination procedure is based on bar reciprocity. Attorneys must be licensed in a jurisdiction that allows South Dakota attorneys substantially similar admissions without exam. The South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners may impose the additional requirements for applicants licensed in reciprocal states that require additional requirements of South Dakota attorneys.
|Attorneys from these states may be Admitted Without Examination in South Dakota|
|South Dakota does not include these states on its reciprocity list but these states include South Dakota on their reciprocity lists|
|Attorneys from these states cannot be Admitted Without Examination in South Dakota|
South Dakota’s Bar Reciprocity List was obtained via public records request. The list allows South Dakota attorneys “substantially similar admission without examination.” The map above identifies the jurisdiction with which South Dakota has bar reciprocity.
South Dakota’s additional reciprocity requirements include:
Intent to Practice in South Dakota. Attorneys must be South Dakota residents, maintain an office in South Dakota, or designate the Clerk of the South Dakota Supreme Court as the attorney’s agent for service of process.
Law Degree. A law degree from an ABA approved law school.
Character and Fitness. Attorneys must meet the applicable character and fitness standards. The character and fitness report is conducted by the NCBE.
Good Standing and Prior Bar Exam. Attorneys must provide the disciplinary history from the jurisdictions where admitted.
Practice of Law. Attorneys must have been actively, continuously, and lawfully engaged in the practice of law as their principal occupation for the past five years immediately preceding the application for admission “Practice of law” includes:
- Private practice (sole practitioner, law firm)
- Judges in courts of record
- Government Attorneys (local, state, or federal)
- Judicial Clerks (included in definitions for local and state attorneys and federal government attorneys)
- Military Attorneys (member of a military branch’s Judge Advocate General Department)
- Corporate Counsel, Agency, Trust Department
Not specifically enumerated: Law Professors (Please see the South Dakota Law Professors page to view an alternative admission process for full-time administrators or faculty members at the South Dakota Law School holding such a position for five of the past seven years immediately preceding termination of that employment.)
MPRE. The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) is not required.
South Dakota Bar Reciprocity Application Procedure
Attorneys eligible for Admission Without Examination in South Dakota must complete the Application. Applicants must be requested from the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners.