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Application for Admission Without Examination

Before completing this application, please review the following:

Rule I, of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar

Definitions of Essential Eligibility Requirements

Supreme Court Decisions Relating to Character and Fitness

Pursuant to Gov. Bar R. I, Section 10, an attorney who is admitted to the practice of law in another jurisdiction may be eligible for admission to the Ohio Bar without examination. The Supreme Court reviews each completed application for admission without examination and may approve or disapprove the application. In addition to determining whether an applicant satisfies the Essential Eligibility Requirements for admission to the practice of law in Ohio, the court will consider whether the applicant meets the requirements of Gov. Bar R. I, Section 10. In addition to meeting minimum past practice requirements, each applicant must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court that the applicant's “past practice of law is of such character, description, and recency as shall satisfy the court that the applicant currently possesses the legal skills deemed adequate for admission to the practice of law in Ohio without examination.”

Filing a Complete Application

NOTICE:  Beginning April 1, 2024, amendments to Gov. Bar R. I, Sec. 10 will permit out-of-state attorneys the ability to apply for admission without examination when having practiced on a part-time basis.  The applicant must show that they have primarily engaged in the active practice of law for at least 1,000 hours per year for five out of the last seven years.

Beginning Jan. 26, 2022, all applications for admission to the practice of law in Ohio must be filed using the Bar Admissions Portal. The Office of Bar Admissions will not accept paper applications after this date.

In order to file an application for Admission Without Examination, you must submit the following:

  1. Applicant’s Affidavit
    The Applicant’s Affidavit must be properly executed and uploaded on the Bar Admissions Portal.
  2. Certificate of Presentation
  3. Applicant’s NCBE Character Questionnaire
    Before submitting an application, you must create an account with the National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”) and complete the Applicant’s Character Questionnaire and pay the required fee. The NCBE number and barcode number are required to create an account on the Bar Admissions Portal.
  4. Certificate(s) of Good Standing
    Certificates of good standing from all jurisdictions in which you are admitted, dated no earlier than 60 days prior to submission of the application, must be uploaded on the Bar Admissions Portal.  Please find a list of official agencies that issue certificates of good standing for each jurisdiction at the link above.
  5. Applicant's Affidavit of Employment
    An affidavit demonstrating that you have complied with Section 10(B)(2), including a description of all employment since you were first admitted, as well as dates (month and year) of employment. A template is available here. NOTE: Your affidavit must include a description of all employment (legal and nonlegal positions), including periods of unemployment. Your affidavit must be properly executed. Download a template.
  6. Verifying Affidavit of Practice
    An affidavit or affidavits from your current and/or former employers confirming that you have complied with Section 10(B)(2), which verifies that you have primarily engaged in the active practice of law for at least one thousand hours per year or (twenty hours per week) for five years of the last seven years. Download a template.
  7. Undergraduate Transcript
    A certified transcript of college credits evidencing that you earned a bachelor’s degree. You may mail the original transcript to our office, or the institution may email the transcript directly to transcripts@sc.ohio.gov. NOTE: We do not require a transcript from each institution you attended, only from the institution that awarded a bachelor’s degree.
  8. Law School Transcript
    A certified law school transcript or certified letter evidencing that you earned a J.D. degree from an ABA approved law school.  You may mail the original transcript to our office, or the institution may email the form directly to transcripts@sc.ohio.gov. NOTE: We do not require a transcript from each institution you attended, only from the institution that awarded a J.D. degree.
  9. 7A Authorization and Release Form
    The release form must be properly executed and uploaded on the Bar Admissions Portal.
  10. Non-refundable application fee in the amount of $1,500.
  11. If applicable, supplemental documentation.
  12. If applicable, petition and non-refundable fee of $30.
  13. If applicable, foreign course-by-course education evaluation completed by either WES or ECE and non-refundable fee of $150. Please refer to the Guidelines for Foreign Education Evaluation for more information. Guidelines for Foreign Education Evaluation

Fee Payment

Applicants must pay all Supreme Court of Ohio application fees on the Bar Admissions Portal at the time an application is submitted. Supreme Court of Ohio fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Applicants must pay all NCBE application fees to the NCBE directly. The fee schedule for the NCBE can be found here: Ohio Character and Fitness Investigations.

Additional Required Documents

All applicants must upload the NCBE Authorization and Release form directly to the NCBE.  If applicable, the following forms may need to be submitted to the NCBE: 7B Authorization to Release Medical Information, 7C Authorization to Release Information, and Law Enforcement Form. If the additional forms are required, they will generate when you finalize your Applicant’s Character Questionnaire.

Practice Pending Admission Application

If you are active and in good standing in another jurisdiction, you may be eligible for practice pending admission.  If you wish to apply for practice pending admission, please submit the application on the Bar Admissions Portal following your submission of the Bar Application.  Materials for the Application for Certification to Practice Pending Admission.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are admitted as an attorney in the highest court of another jurisdiction;
  • Are in good standing in every jurisdiction of licensure;
  • Have primarily engaged in the active practice of law for at least 1,000 hours per year for five of the past seven years;
  • Have not taken and failed an Ohio bar examination in the past five years;
  • Are a citizen or resident alien of the United States; and
  • Meet the other general admission requirements of Gov. Bar R. I, Sec. 10.

The non-refundable application fee is $1,500.  Payment must be submitted in the Bar Admissions Portal.  Additional fees may be required if an applicant is required to submit a petition or foreign education evaluation.  Please note that applicants will also be required to submit NCBE fees, paid to the NCBE directly.

Once your application is complete and filed, the Office of Bar Admissions awaits the report from the NCBE.  After the report is received, a determination is made as to whether the applicant must be sent for further character and fitness review.  Applicants who are eligible to bypass that process will have their application materials submitted to the Court for its review and decision.  On average, those applications can take four to six months to complete fully.  Applications that do not meet the standard of criteria as set forth by the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness to skip further review will be sent to a local bar association in Ohio for an in-person interview.  These applications can take, on average, six to ten months to complete fully.

In Ohio, admission to the bar without examination (or “admission on motion”) is available to any applicant that is actively licensed in another U.S. state or territory and who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements.  It is not based upon reciprocity (i.e., “comity” or “mutuality of admission”); jurisdictions with reciprocity requirements extend admission without examination only to those candidates who are licensed in reciprocal states, and require that candidates from all nonreciprocal states take the bar exam before gaining admission.

This affidavit must cover all employment (legal and non-legal) and unemployment since the date the applicant was first admitted to the practice of law.  The affidavit should also list all of the applicant’s jurisdictions of licensure and the date that the applicant was admitted to each.

For any practice that occurs or occurred in a jurisdiction in which the applicant is not admitted, or practice that occurs or occurred prior to an applicant’s admission to that jurisdiction, the applicant must cite a specific rule or statute from the jurisdiction in which the practice occurred that states that the practice was affirmatively permitted at the time the practice occurred.  Advisory opinions do not constitute affirmative authority.  Please note, the Court considers the practice of law in a jurisdiction to be the practice of any law in that jurisdiction.  For example, an applicant who resides in State A and provides legal services based on the laws of State B remotely from their home is considered to be practicing law in State A, regardless of what laws are actually being practiced.

Applicants must provide affidavits that will verify the applicant has primarily engaged in the active practice of law for at least 1,000 hours per year five of the most recent seven years.  For some applicants this may be demonstrated with just one affidavit, others may need to provide multiple affidavits.

This affidavit must be completed by someone who is capable of attesting to your employment, employment dates and practice of law; typically, this will be a human resources representative or supervisor. 

For those that are self-employed, an affidavit from another attorney that is a member of the bar in the jurisdiction in which the practice occurred is acceptable as long as the affiant knows the applicant and can verify the applicant’s practice of law.

The Certificate of Presentation must be completed by an Ohio attorney in good standing with the Office of Attorney Services.  Inactive Ohio attorneys in good standing may complete this form.

The Supreme Court of Ohio is not able to refer applicants to an Ohio presenting attorney.  If an applicant is not familiar with any Ohio attorneys, it is suggested that they reach out to the Ohio State Bar Association, a local Ohio bar association, an in-state employer, or their law school to see if they can be connected to fellow alumni that are admitted to the Ohio bar.

While the wording of Certificate of Presentation indicates that the Ohio attorney will present the applicant to the Court to be sworn-in, the majority of applicants utilize an alternative way to being sworn-in, which is provided in the Rule.   Once approved by the Court, an applicant may be sworn-in by any sitting Ohio state judge, or by a justice in a jurisdiction in which the applicant is licensed.  If an applicant elects to be sworn-in by a judge or by a justice in another jurisdiction, the presenting attorney does not need to be present for the oath of office.  If the applicant elects to be sworn-in by a judge or justice, the Office of Bar Admissions will provide the applicant with the appropriate paperwork.

Applicants are required to provide a Certificate of Good Standing for every jurisdiction in which they have been admitted to practice law.  Certificates must be obtained from the source that each jurisdiction has deemed the appropriate authority – you can see the list of those sources [List of Official Agencies that Issue Certificates of Good Standing for Each Jurisdiction (ohio.gov)].  Please note that certificates are only valid for a period of 60 days.

Applicants that obtained their undergraduate and/or law degree abroad must submit a course-by-course evaluation from either Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES) demonstrating that they have completed:

  • At least three years of fulltime post-secondary education in order for the Court to find undergraduate educational equivalence; and
  • At least three years of fulltime post-secondary formal legal education and received a law degree in order for the Court to find legal educational equivalence. Applicants with foreign legal education must also complete thirty credit hours at a law school approved by the American Bar Association, and at least twenty credit hours must come from the [list of courses specified by the Court].   The thirty credit hours must be completed within a period of 48-months. 

Please note that a course cannot count towards both the undergraduate requirement and the legal education requirement, meaning that applicants must have at least six years of education in total.  Additionally, online courses are not accepted.  Applicants with foreign education are also required to submit a non-refundable fee of $150 in the Bar Admissions Portal.  Applicants with foreign legal education cannot begin the application process until they have successfully completed the thirty credit hours at an ABA-approved law school. 

Applicants with foreign education are still required to meet the other eligibility requirements for Admission Without Examination, including the licensure and practice requirements.  Admission to practice law in a foreign country and foreign practice are not considered in determining eligibility.

Additional Admissions Information

The NCBE will conduct a background investigation upon receipt of a complete application. Once the NCBE submits the results of its investigation, the application and the NCBE report may be forwarded to a local bar association to conduct a personal interview.  The admissions committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness concerning the applicant’s character, fitness, and moral qualifications to practice.  An applicant may appeal an adverse recommendation to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness.

Applicants have a continuous reporting obligation while their application is pending, until the applicant is admitted to the practice of law. The applicant is required to notify the Office of Bar Admissions in writing of any changes or updates to an application.  Applicants may amend their application on the Bar Admissions Portal or by emailing baradmissions@sc.ohio.gov.

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact the Office of Bar Admissions at 614.387.9340 or baradmissions@sc.ohio.gov.

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