Do I have to go to law school to become a lawyer in Georgia?

February 18, 2014 § Leave a Comment

The conventional wisdom is yes. Technically, the answer is no.

An experienced, educated nonlawyer who has not obtained a J.D. from an ABA-approved school could apply to the State Bar of Georgia’s Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants for a waiver of the educational requirements to take the bar exam. Supposing one, say, had the leg up of a qualifying bachelor’s degree, one could use the waiver process, buttressed by a Dean’s Letter (meaning you have convinced a dean or dean-designated professor at one of Georgia’s law schools to recommend your candidacy) and fine letters of reference (preferably from law school faculty, or at least lawyers), for the chance to make a very strenuous case to the Board to certify you to be fit (and therefore eligible to be examined) to practice law in the State of Georgia. Then, if they say yes, you can pay for, take and pass the bar exam, as well as the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, then pay your dues to the State Bar and visit your county’s Superior Court to be admitted.

And that’s how, hypothetically, one might manage to practice law in Georgia without having gone to law school.

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