Rule 3:01, Section 6 of the Massachusetts Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court governs admission to the Massachusetts Bar for attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions. The process in Massachusetts is called Admission on Motion. Attorneys must be admitted to another state, district, or territory of the United States and must have been actively engaged in the practice or teaching of law for five of the past seven years immediately preceding the application for admission. Attorneys may request an advance determination of eligibility.
|Attorneys from these states may be Admitted on Motion in Massachusetts|
The process in Massachusetts is not based on bar reciprocity with other jurisdictions. Attorneys meeting the requirements may apply for admission.
Massachusetts’s additional reciprocity requirements include:
Undergraduate Degree. A bachelor’s degree from a college, university, or equivalent.
Law Degree. A law degree from an ABA approved law school at the time of graduation or a law school authorized by state statute.
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 be in good standing. Attorneys that have failed the Massachusetts bar exam are required to overcome the rebuttable presumption against admission on motion.
Practice of Law. Attorneys must be admitted to another state, district, or territory of the United States and must have been actively engaged in the practice or teaching of law for five of the past seven years immediately preceding the application for admission. “Practice of law” includes:
*Not specifically enumerated but included: Massachusetts does not specifically enumerate attorney categories or define the “practice of law.” However, Massachusetts provides a Notice for determination of eligibility. The notice cites examples that include teaching as a law professor, authorized practice as house counsel, and authorization pursuant to a federal appointment such as government attorneys, judges, clerks, and military attorneys. The Notice also includes practice that is allowed pursuant to 5.5(d) of the Multijurisdicitional Practice Rules. Attorneys are encouraged to send an Inquiry Letter (see below).
MPRE. Attorneys must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”) if they have not passed the MPRE in another jurisdiction. The passing score in Massachusetts is 85.
Attorneys eligible for Admission on Motion in Massachusetts are required to complete the Application. Applications may be accepted at any time. The process takes approximately four to six months to complete. In addition, the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners welcomes attorneys to submit an Inquiry Letter for advanced determination. The letter should include basic background and practice information.