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In un momento di protratta crisi della Professione, molti giovani avvocati – e non – si rivolgono a mercati esteri in cerca di lavoro.

Il presente articolo si propone di illustrare sommariamente l’iter che un avvocato italiano, o un giovane laureato in giurisprudenza, deve seguire per abilitarsi alla professione forense negli Stati Uniti.

While there are 34 states in the US where foreign trained attorneys could potentially take the bar exam, each has its own rules and regulations that vary from state to state.

If a foreign attorney wishes to take the bar exam in the United States, the first thing to do is establish eligibility.

Eligibility criteria vary greatly from one state to another. Admission to the bar is conducted through the Board of Bar Examiners of the state in which the candidate wishes to apply. In order to establish what requirements the candidate needs to possess to take the exam, it is necessary to make a preliminary, but essential, distinction between foreign educated applicants and foreign licensed attorneys. This is important in the sense that, in some states (e.g. California), the latter may be entitled to take the bar exam without having to complete further educational requirements (such as a Master of Laws or LL.M). This translates into the possibility of being automatically eligible to take the bar exam, on condition that the candidate shows proof of admission to a foreign jurisdiction.

On the other hand, the criteria for eligibility of a foreign educated applicant is more demanding. In this case, a candidate must show to have successfully completed one year of legal study in the United States (i.e. LL.M) https://www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Requirements/Education/Legal-Education/Foreign-Education/Foreign-Law-Degree.

Under some circumstances, a one year LL.M. also qualifies a foreign candidate to take the New York bar exam, which requirements for eligibility are set forth in Section 520.6 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law https://www.nybarexam.org/Rules/Rules.htm#520.6.

Differently, other states (i.e. Florida) do not allow foreign applicants to bridge the “educational” gap through an LL.M., but instead require that any candidate, foreign or domestic, graduate from a three-year ABA approved American J.D. program.

Further information on the requirements that a foreign applicant must meet in order to qualify for the bar exam may be found at http://www.ncbex.org/assets/BarAdmissionGuide/NCBE-CompGuide-2019.pdf.

Once the candidate has obtained all the requisites required by the state in which s/he intends to take the bar exam, and the Board of Bar examiners has deemed them eligible, the candidate must now take the actual exam.

Generally, the bar exam is administered two times per year, in February and in July. It is at least two days long – although in some jurisdictions it may be three – and consists of:

  • The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE): a six-hour, two-hundred question multiple-choice examination covering civil procedure, contracts, torts, constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, evidence, and real property.
  • The Multistate Performance Test (MPT): two 90-minute skills questions covering factual analysis, legal analysis and reasoning, problem solving, identification and resolution of ethical dilemmas, written communication, and organization and management of a legal task.
  • The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) which consists in a three-hour, six-question essay examination covering the following areas of law: business associations, civil procedure, conflict of laws, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, family law, real property, secured transactions, torts and trusts and estates.

In addition to the examination, applicants are required to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). This exam is administered three times per year (March, August, and November) and is used to test the knowledge of the law governing the conduct of lawyers. It consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete.

Last but not least, after successfully completing the examinations, the candidate is required to produce evidence that s/he is a person of honest demeanor and good moral character and possesses the requisite fitness to perform the obligations and responsibilities of a practicing attorney at law.

 

Giovanni Battista Annicetti