North Carolina Bar Reciprocity

Rule .0502 of the Rules Governing the Admission to Practice governs admission to the North Carolina Bar for attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions. The process in North Carolina is called Comity. Attorneys must have been engaged in the full-time practice of law as the attorney’s principal means of livelihood in a reciprocal jurisdiction for at least four of the past six years.


The Comity procedure in North Carolina is based on bar reciprocity. The attorney’s home jurisdiction must admit North Carolina attorneys without requiring the bar exam, but the attorney’s home jurisdiction may still require the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”). Attorneys must have been physically practicing in the reciprocal jurisdiction.

Attorneys from these states may be admitted through Comity in North Carolina
Attorneys from these states cannot be Admitted on Motion in North Carolina

Reciprocal Jurisdictions

North Carolina’s Bar Reciprocity List is subject to change. The map above identifies the states with which North Carolina has bar reciprocity.

Additional Requirements

North Carolina’s additional reciprocity requirements include:

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 be active members in good standing in their reciprocal jurisdiction and cannot be under any charges of misconduct. For other jurisdictions where admitted, attorneys must be in good standing at the time the attorney ceased to be a member. The Board may waive the certification of good standing requirement if the jurisdiction will not certify good standing solely because of the nonpayment of dues. Attorneys cannot have failed the North Carolina bar exam within 10 years of the application for admission.

Practice of Law. Attorneys must have been engaged in the full-time practice of law as the attorney’s principal means of livelihood in a reciprocal jurisdiction for at least four of the past six years. Legal employment prior to admission does not qualify. “Practice of law” includes activities defined in G.S. 84-2.1 and practices that would constitute the practice of law if done for the general public. For employment outside of North Carolina, the “practice of law” includes:

  • Private Practice
  • Judges (local, state, or federal courts of record)
  • Judicial Clerks (local, state, or federal)
  • Military Attorneys (member of Judge Advocate General’s Department of one of the armed services) (whether or not the service was in a jurisdiction where the attorney was licensed)
  • Law Professors (teaching as full-time faculty members at law schools approved by the Council of the North Carolina State Bar)
  • Not specifically enumerated: No major categories.

Employment in North Carolina, when conducted pursuant to a license granted by another jurisdiction, is limited to:

  • Employment as house counsel for a business in North Carolina that does not involve selling or furnishing legal advice or services to others;
  • Employment as a law professor teaching as a full-time faculty member at approved law schools in North Carolina or the Institute of Government at UNC – Chapel Hill;
  • Service as a military attorney.
  • Services as a federal government attorney as a United States Attorney or Assistant United States Attorney for a federal jurisdiction in North Carolina or for service in North Carolina as an attorney in a federal public defender’s office or a federal community defender’s office for a federal judicial district in North Carolina.

MPRE. Attorneys must achieve a scaled score of 85 or better on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE).

North Carolina Bar Reciprocity Application Procedure

Attorneys eligible for Comity in North Carolina are required to complete the Application. Applications may be accepted at any time. The Board cannot consider an attorney’s application for admission until it has been on file for at least six months. After that time period, the Board will notify the attorney when to appear before the Board that will act on the application.