Rule 4.0 of the Rules for Admission to the Practice of Law in West Virginia governs admission to the West Virginia Bar for attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions. The process in West Virginia is called Admission on Motion. Attorneys must have been lawfully engaged in the active practice of law for five of the seven years preceding the application and must have held a valid license to practice law from a state throughout the five-year period.
The Admission on Motion procedure in West Virginia is based on bar reciprocity. Attorneys must demonstrate that the standards of admission in at least one of the states where the attorney was previously admitted were, at the time of the attorney’s admission to that state, and are now, substantially equivalent to the standards for admission in West Virginia.
|Attorneys from these states may be Admitted on Motion in West Virginia|
|Attorneys from these states cannot be Admitted on Motion in West Virginia|
|Oregon considers West Virginia a reciprocal state but West Virginia does not consider Oregon to be reciprocal|
West Virginia’s Bar Reciprocity List is subject to change. The map above identifies the states with which West Virginia has bar reciprocity.
West Virginia’s additional reciprocity requirements include:
Intent to Practice Law in West Virginia. Attorneys must intend to practice law in West Virginia on at least a minimal basis.
Law Degree. A law degree from an 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. There are no specific rules for this category.
Practice of Law. Attorneys must have been lawfully engaged in the active practice of law for five of the seven years preceding the application for admission and must have held a valid license to practice law from a state throughout the five-year period.
“Active practice of law” means practice on a substantial basis motivated by a desire to earn a livelihood from that practice and must be on an active and continuous basis. There may be some interruption in the period of active practice in another state where the attorney can show substantial diligence in reciprocal admission in West Virginia. Practice includes:
- Judges, Magistrates, Hearing Examiners, ALJs, or Similar Officials (local, state, territory, or federal) (duties of hearing and deciding cases and controversies in judicial or administrative proceedings) (provided such employment is only available to a lawyer)
- Government Attorneys (primary in the performance of legal services or duties)
- Judicial Clerks (state or federal)
- Military Attorneys (primary in the performance of legal services or duties)
- Law Professors teaching at approved law schools
- Not specifically enumerated or included: Corporate Counsel
MPRE. Attorneys must achieve a score of 75 or better on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”). The score must be achieved within 25 months of the application for Admission on Motion.
West Virginia Bar Reciprocity Application Procedure
Attorneys eligible for Admission on Motion in West Virginia must complete the Application. Applications may be filed at any time.