Rule XIII of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Texas governs admission to the Texas Bar for attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions. Attorneys must have been actively and substantially engaged in the practice of law in any state, or elsewhere, as his or her principal business or occupation for at least five of the past seven years immediately preceding the filing of the application. Rule XIII is strictly construed, because it is an exception to the general rule requiring the Texas bar exam.
The process in Texas is not based on reciprocity with other jurisdictions. Attorneys meeting the requirements may apply for admission.
|Attorneys admitted in these states may be Admitted on Motion in Texas|
Texas’s additional reciprocity requirements include:
Law Degree. A law degree from an ABA approved law school (determined at the time of enrollment or graduation and not at a later date).
Character and Fitness. Attorneys must meet the applicable character and fitness standards.
Good Standing and Prior Bar Exam. Attorneys must be in good standing and cannot have previously failed the Texas bar exam.
Practice of Law. Attorneys must have been actively and substantially engaged in the practice of law in any state or elsewhere as his or her principal business or occupation for at least five of the past seven years immediately preceding the filing of the application. Active and substantial practice is demonstrated practice of at least 30 hours per week. The attorney has the burden of proof. “Practice of law” includes:
- Private Practice (sole practitioner, law firm, legal services office, legal clinic, public agency, or similar entity) (on behalf of an individual, corporation, partnership, or trust)
- Judges, Magistrates, or Referees (local, state, or federal) (position must only be open to licensed attorneys)
- Government Attorneys (local state, or federal) (primary duties of furnishing legal counsel and advice, drafting and interpreting legal documents and pleadings, interpreting and giving advice regarding the law, or preparing, trying, or presenting cases before courts and departments of government or administrative agencies)
- Judicial Clerkships and Exclusive Federal Practice*
- Law Professors teaching at ABA approved law schools
- Corporate Counsel (primary duties of furnishing legal counsel and advice, drafting and interpreting legal documents and pleadings, interpreting and giving advice regarding the law, or preparing, trying, or presenting cases before courts and departments of government or administrative agencies)*
- Not specifically enumerated but included: Judicial Clerkships, Military Attorneys Does not include: Foreign Legal Consultants
*Texas applicants should also consult the Texas Board of Law Examiners’ Policy Statement on Practice Requirements for Rule VIII for further guidance regarding qualifying practices in Texas and practices taking place outside of Texas.
For any work performed in a jurisdiction where the attorney is not licensed, the attorney must provide a written statement, including citation and court rule, statute or binding authority in that jurisdiction, demonstrating to the Board’s satisfaction that the jurisdiction does not regard the activity or practice as unlawful.
MPRE. Attorneys must achieve a scaled score of 85 or better on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”).
Texas Bar Reciprocity Application Procedure
Attorneys eligible for Admission Without Examination in Texas must complete the General Application. Basic application requirements include the following:
If an attorney applies for Admission Without Examination but does not qualify, the attorney will be notified and must take the Texas Bar Exam and pay the additional fee. The attorney must also provide an LSAC number.