Illinois Bar Reciprocity

Rule 705 of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules governs admission to the Illinois Bar for attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions. The process in Illinois is called Admission on Motion. Attorneys must have been engaged in the active, continuous, and lawful practice of law for at least three of the past five years immediately preceding the application.


The Admission on Motion procedure in Illinois is no longer based on bar reciprocity. Attorneys meeting the requirements may apply for admission.

Attorneys from these states may be Admitted on Motion in Illinois

Additional Requirements

Illinois’s additional reciprocity requirements include:

Preliminary Education and Undergraduate Degree. Attorneys must be graduates of four-year high schools or other preparatory school whose graduates are admitted on diploma to the freshman class (or otherwise eligible for admission to the freshman class) of any college or university having admission requirements equivalent to the University of Illinois.

Attorneys must have completed 90 semester hours of college work. The Board may accept alternative high school and college work after an investigation.

Law Degree. A first professional law degree from an ABA approved law school.

Character and Fitness. Attorney must meet the applicable character and fitness standards.

Good Standing and Prior Bar Exam. Attorneys cannot have failed the Illinois Bar Exam within the past five years.

Practice of Law. Attorneys must have been engaged in the active, continuous, and lawful practice of law for five of the past seven years. “Active and continuous” means the attorney devoted a minimum of 80 hours per month and no fewer than 1,000 hours per year to the practice of law during 60 of the 84 months immediately preceding the application. Attorneys must be on active status in at least one jurisdiction.

The term “lawful” means the practice was performed physically outside of Illinois and either physically within a jurisdiction in which the applicant was licensed or physically within a jurisdiction in which a lawyer not admitted to the bar is permitted to engage in such practice.  An applicant relying on practice performed in a jurisdiction in which he or she is not admitted to the bar must establish that such practice is permitted by statute, rule, court order, or by written confirmation from the admitting or disciplinary authority of the jurisdiction in which the practice occurred

“Practice of law” includes:

  • Private Practice (sole practitioner for a law firm, legal services office, legal clinic, or other entity with the lawful business of the practice of law or the provision of legal services).
  • Judges, Magistrates, Referees, or Similar Officials (state, territory, or federal)
  • Judicial Law Clerks*
  • Military Attorneys (legal services in the United States armed forces)
  • Corporate Counsel (employment for an agency, association, trust department, or other similar entity)***
  • Any combination of the above so long as the employment is available only to licensed attorneys and the primary duty of the position is to provide legal advice, representation, or services.

*Practice while employed as a judge, magistrate, referee, other similar official, judicial law clerk, or military attorney is considered the practice of law even if physically performed without a jurisdiction in which the applicant is admitted.

**Practice as a law professor is considered lawful practice even if performed physically without a jurisdiction in which the applicant is admitted.   However, the professor cannot appear in court or supervise student court appearances as part of a clinical course or otherwise.

***Practice pursuant to an Illinois House Counsel License (Rule 716) qualifies towards the admission on motion law practice duration requirement.

  • Not specifically: No major categories.

MPRE. If the applicant has practiced law for fewer than fifteen years, the attorney must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE” ) in Illinois or in any other jurisdiction where the ethics test was administered.

Illinois Bar Reciprocity Application Procedure

Attorneys eligible for Admission on Motion in Illinois must complete an Application. Applications may be accepted at any time.