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Rule Change 2021(23)

Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law in Colorado

December 8, 2021


Appendix to Rule 201

[Repealed] 

Rule 203.4. Applications for Admission by Colorado Bar Examination

(1) [NO CHANGE]

(2) Colorado bar examination applications must be received on or before the first day of November preceding the February bar examination; or on or before the first day of April preceding the July bar examination; or at such other times as may be designated by the Supreme Court.

(3) By the time of the examination, Colorado bar examination applicants must have received:

(a) a J.D. or LL.B. degree from a law school approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association; or

(b) a J.D. or LL.B. degree from a state-accredited law school, provided that such applicant shall have been admitted in another jurisdiction of the United States and shall have been primarily engaged in the active practice of law, as defined by C.R.C.P. 203.2, for three of the five years immediately preceding application for bar examination admission in Colorado.

(4) An applicant who receives an LL.B., J.D., or equivalent degree from a school of higher education in a nation other than the United States can be exempt from the requirements of section (3) in this rule provided that such applicant meets all of the requirements of at least one of the following three eligibility categories:

(a) the applicant:

(i) has completed a course of study at a foreign law school that is accredited in the jurisdiction where it is located, and the course of study is based on the principles of English common law and substantially equivalent in duration to a J.D. legal education program provided by an ABA-accredited or state-accredited U.S. law school;

(ii) is authorized to practice law in a foreign jurisdiction or another U.S. jurisdiction and is in good standing in all jurisdictions where admitted or authorized to practice; and

(iii) has been actively and substantially engaged in the lawful practice of law for at least three of the last five years as defined by C.R.C.P. 203.2 immediately preceding the applicant’s most recent application; or

(b) the applicant:

(i) has completed a course of study at a foreign law school that is accredited in the jurisdiction where it is located, and the course of study is based on the principles of English common law and substantially equivalent in duration to a J.D. legal education program provided by an ABA-accredited U.S. law school; and

(ii) has completed an LL.M. degree that meets the curricular requirements of section (6) of this rule at an ABA-accredited U.S. law school; or

(c) the applicant:

(i) has completed a course of study at a foreign law school that is accredited in the jurisdiction where it is located, and the course of study is not based on the principles of English common law, but is substantially equivalent in duration to a J.D. legal education program provided by an ABA-accredited U.S. law school; and

(ii) is authorized to practice law in a foreign jurisdiction or in another U.S. jurisdiction and is in good standing in all jurisdictions where admitted or authorized to practice; and

(iii) has completed an LLM degree that meets the curricular requirements of section (6) of this rule at an ABA-accredited U.S. law school.

(5) A J.D. degree or an equivalent professional law degree completed at a foreign law school that is earned primarily through online courses or other distance-learning programs that do not meet the distance learning requirements of the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools does not satisfy the requirements of this rule.

(6) An LLM degree satisfies eligibility requirements of this rule specific to LLM degrees when the course of study for which the degree is awarded meets each of the following requirements: (a) the program must consist of minimum of 24 semester hours of credit—or the equivalent, if the law school is on an academic schedule other than a conventional semester system—which must consist of courses in substantive and procedural law or professional skills. Courses completed online or by other distance-learning programs that do not meet the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools will not count toward the required minimum 24 semester hours of credit required by this rule;

(b) the program must require at least 700 minutes of instruction time, exclusive of examination time, for the granting of one semester of credit;

(c) the program must include a period of instruction consisting of no fewer than two semesters of at least 13 calendar weeks each, or the equivalent, exclusive of reading periods, examinations, and breaks;

(d) the program must not be completed exclusively during summer semesters, but a maximum of four semester hours of credit may be earned in courses completed during summer semesters;

(e) the program must be completed within 24 months of matriculation;

(f) all coursework for the program must be completed through an ABA-accredited law school in the United States;

(g) the program must include:

(i) at least two semester hours of credit in professional responsibility;

(ii) at least two semester hours of credit in legal research, writing, and analysis, which may not be satisfied by a research-and-writing requirement in a substantive law course;

(iii) at least two semester hours of credit in a course designed to introduce students to distinctive aspects and fundamental principles of United States law, which may be satisfied by an introductory course in the American legal system or a course in United States constitutional law, civil procedure, or contract law—additional credit hours earned in a course that meets the requirements of this subparagraph may be applied towards the requirements of subparagraph (iv); and

(iv) at least six semester hours of credit in subjects tested on the Uniform Bar Examination.

(7) All Colorado bar examination applicants must pay the required application fee.

(8) All successful Colorado bar examination applicants must pass the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). For applicants licensed in another jurisdiction of the United States and engaged in the active practice of law for 15 or more years without any public discipline at the time of application, a passing score previously accepted by another jurisdiction of the United States will be accepted for admission in Colorado without regard to when that passing score was achieved. For other applicants who are licensed in another jurisdiction of the United States a passing score will be valid if it was achieved at an examination taken not more than five years before acceptance of the application for admission in Colorado. For applicants who are not licensed in another jurisdiction of the United States, a passing score will be valid if it was achieved at an examination taken not more than two years before acceptance of the application for admission in Colorado. The Supreme Court shall review and determine the passing score for the MPRE for admission in Colorado.

(9) Professionalism Course. All successful Colorado bar examination applicants must complete the course on professionalism, as described in C.R.C.P. 203.1(8), prior to and as a condition of admission. Credit for completion of the professionalism course will be valid for eighteen months following completion of the course.

(10) Any unsuccessful applicant may, upon request, obtain a copy of the applicant’s answers to the essay portions of the examination. Such request shall be made on a form furnished by the Office of Attorney Admissions. This rule does not permit applicants to obtain any materials other than the applicant’s written essay answers.

Amended and Adopted by the Court, En Banc, December 8, 2021, effective immediately. 

By the Court:

Monica M. Márquez

Justice, Colorado Supreme Court

 

Official Colorado Supreme Court Rules Committees proceedings can be found at the Colorado Supreme Court Rules Committees website.

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