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A Welcome Change: New England States Ease Up on Stringent Bar Rules

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As reported in New Rules May Spur Competition for Maine, NH and VT Attorneys, (AP)(11/29/04), courts in these three states will allow some out-of-state lawyers to be admitted to the bar without taking the bar exam, under a reciprocal admission agreement.  A lawyer from any of the three states can apply for the right to practice in one of the other states by taking 15 hours of continuing education in the laws of that state.  Currently, lawyers licensed in one of those states must take a bar exam to represent a client in the other two states.

These types of changes make so much sense, particular in adjacent states where lawyers are likely to represent clients who may have inter-jurisdictional matters.  It’s a lot to ask an attorney to take three separate bar exams to qualify to practice in adjacent jurisdictions.  Other clustered states – for example, the DC-MD-VA region where I practice – ought to consider adopting this change.  It promotes competition which can only improve the quality of legal service while diminishing the cost.  Nothing wrong with that.

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