US State Bar Admissions – More Moves Towards Interstate Mobility – The Litigation Indust

Some members of the litigation industry – like some members of non-law businesses – prefer mobility across borders. In the US, that means rule-making, negotiating for, or litigating to obtain easier admissions to the bars of the various states. The moves are continuing and over a decade or so seem destined to provide national flexibility in perhaps all but a few states (e.g. Florida; perhaps Delaware). The moves towards interstate mobility certainly should gain some further traction because current law school graduates face such a difficult market, but popular markets may also seek to protect their franchises. For example, one might think that Delaware lawyers will be loathe to reduce their roles as gate-keepers with barriers in place to limit access to the Chancery Court.

One of the newest moves is a federal suit challenging Arizona’s reciprocity rule. Interestingly, Arizona actually does allow reciprocity, but it’s limited to lawyers from states that also allow reciprocity. That aspect of the law is being challenged by lawyers from states that do not allow reciprocity.

A pretty good summary of recent developments is a July 20, 2012 New York Law Journal article by Karen Sloan. The article reviews various developments, including the states adopting the Uniform Bar Exam. On that topic, the key quote is: "The concept of a uniform exam has been batted about for two decades, but has gained momentum since 2010, when Missouri became the first state to sign on. Nine states have followed: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri and North Dakota are using the test now; Montana, Nebraska, Utah and Washington will begin using it next year. Several states are seriously considering adopting the test."

A website known as Barreciprocity.com provides a good state-by-state summary of reciprocity laws and related rules.

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”

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