Admission to the Practice of Law in Ohio Without Examination

Pursuant to Gov. Bar R. I, Section 9, 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 9. 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.”

Instructions
Application Process
FAQ
Application Materials

Instructions

Before you complete this application, you should read Rule I of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar.

You may apply for admission to the practice of law in Ohio without examination if you meet all of the criteria listed in Gov. Bar R. I, Sec. 9(A). Please review these criteria before downloading and completing the application forms.

Your Application for Admission to the Practice of Law Without Examination must be filed with the Office of Bar Admissions and include all of the following:

  1. a completed Request for Admission Without Examination form;
  2. the affidavit required under Section 9, Division (C)(1), executed on the form provided (i.e., Affidavit of Applicant);
  3. a hardcopy of the completed Applicant's Questionnaire, printed and properly executed, and a copy of the Questionnaire;
  4. three original (separately executed) National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”) Authorization and Release forms;
  5. a Certificate of Admission by Bar Examination as an attorney at law from the jurisdiction from which you are seeking admission demonstrating that you have taken and passed a bar examination and have been admitted to the practice of law in that jurisdiction. You may seek admission from any jurisdiction in which you have been admitted by examination;
  6. a Certificate of Presentation signed by an attorney admitted to practice in Ohio and duly registered pursuant to Gov. Bar R. VI;
  7. your fingerprints taken by a sheriff, deputy sheriff, municipal police officer, or state highway patrol officer;
  8. a certificate of good standing from each jurisdiction in which you are admitted to practice law, dated no earlier than 60 days prior to submission of the application;
  9. an affidavit demonstrating that you have complied with Section 9, Division (A)(2), including a description of your practice of law, the dates of such practice, and if applicable, a description of your employment subsequent to ceasing such practice (i.e., Applicant's Affidavit of Past Practice);
  10. an affidavit or affidavits confirming that you have engaged in the full-time practice of law for at least five full years out of the last ten years prior to submission of your application, as required by Section 9, Division (C)(5) (i.e., Employer's Affidavit(s) Verifying Past Practice);
  11. evidence of receipt of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university (i.e., an original certificate or official transcript from the college or university);
  12. evidence of receipt of a law degree from an ABA approved law school (i.e., an original certificate or official transcript from the law school);
  13. a non-refundable application fee in the amount of $1,500, by certified check or money order made payable to the Supreme Court of Ohio; and
  14. a non-refundable fee, by certified check or money order, for an NCBE character investigation and report in the amount indicated on the “Request for Preparation of a Character Report.”

Forms (Items 1-6)
All of the forms needed for completion of items 1 through 6 are available for download or online completion from the download area. If you download and print blank forms, the information you provide on these must be typed. Please note that the National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”) Authorization and Release forms will print with your completed Character Questionnaire.

Certificate(s) of Good Standing (Item 8)
Each certificate of good standing that you provide should be dated no earlier than 60 days before the date on which your application is filed with the Office of Bar Admissions.

Affidavit of Past Practice (Item 9)
The court requires you to draft and to submit an affidavit demonstrating that you have complied with Gov. Bar R. I, Sec. 9(A)(2). The affidavit should include a description of your practice of law, the dates of such practice, and if applicable, a description of your employment subsequent to ceasing such practice. The affidavit must state the dates (by month and year) and location of all employment positions, and include a description of all positions, since you were first admitted to the practice of law in any jurisdiction. In addition, you must indicate whether each employment position was full-time or part-time.

The affidavit will enable the court to determine whether your “past practice of law is of such character, description and recency as shall satisfy the court that [you] currently possess the legal skills deemed adequate for admission to the practice of law in Ohio without examination.” See Gov. Bar R. I, Sec. 9(F)(1)(b). Please note that dates of employment provided in your affidavit should match the dates of employment provided in your Applicant's Character Questionnaire.

Affidavit(s) Verifying Past Practice (Item 10)
Under Gov. Bar R. I, Sec. 9(C)(5), the court requires an affidavit or affidavits from your employer or employers verifying your full-time practice of law. If you have been self-employed, a verifying affidavit(s) should be completed by an attorney who knows you and who is also a member of the bar in the jurisdiction in which you practiced. The affidavit or affidavits should verify at least five full years of full-time practice of law by month and year.

Please note that persons verifying your practice of law should state in the affidavit in what capacity they are able to verify your practice (e.g., the affiant supervised your work). Please also note that a current or past employer cannot verify full-time practice with any other employer, firm, or organization. Similarly, an attorney able to verify your self-employment, as specified in Gov. Bar R. I., Sec. 9(C)( 5), may not verify practice engaged in for an employer (unless, of course, this attorney was also your employer).

Return to top

The Application Process

As you prepare your application, please note the following:

If your application is incomplete when submitted, it will not be accepted and part or all of it will be returned to you for completion. An application is deemed incomplete if it does not have the necessary documents attached; if any portion of it is not properly executed; if it is missing the appropriate fee(s); if any portion of it is missing; or if any questions are unanswered, incompletely answered or missing any required details.

After your application is filed, you will have a continuous reporting obligation and must notify the Office of Bar Admissions in writing of any changes or additions to the information provided in your application.

Upon receipt of your complete application, the Office of Bar Admissions will forward your Applicant's Questionnaire to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”) in Madison, Wisconsin. The NCBE will verify your background information, check character references and provide additional background review.

When the NCBE submits the results of its investigation to the court, your application and the NCBE report will be forwarded to one of Ohio's metropolitan bar associations. The bar association's admissions committee will conduct a character investigation and make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness concerning your character, fitness, and moral qualifications to practice. An adverse recommendation may be appealed pursuant to Gov. Bar R. I, Sec. 12.

Your character and fitness must be approved before your application will be considered by the court. The character review process described above generally takes several months, with appeals to the Board requiring additional time.

To better understand the character and fitness process in Ohio, you should consult Rule I, Supreme Court of Ohio decisions that address character and fitness issues, and the Definition of Essential Eligibility Requirements for the Practice of Law.

In its sole discretion, the court shall approve or disapprove your application. In reviewing your application, the court will consider whether you have met the requirements of Gov. Bar R. I, Sec. 9(A) and Sec. 9(F)(1)(b).

After the court has reviewed your application, the Office of Bar Admissions will notify you as to the court's determination. If the court approves your application, you will be mailed a date and a time for your presentation to the court. The attorney who signs the Certificate of Presentation you submit with your application will be required to attend the court's session and present you to the court, and you will be administered the oath of office. Generally, presentation occurs within two months of the court's approval of an application.

If you have any questions regarding your application or any of the provisions of Rule I, contact the Office of Bar Admissions at 614.387.9352. Applications, application updates, and correspondence should be mailed to the Bar Admissions Counsel at the following address:

Office of Bar Admissions
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street, 5th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431

Return to top

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the application process take?

For applicants approved by the court, the process typically takes between eight and ten months to complete fully.

Does Ohio have a relationship of reciprocity with my state?

In Ohio, admission to the bar without examination (or “admission on motion”) is not, as in some states, based upon reciprocity (i.e., “comity” or “mutuality of admission”). Jurisdictions with reciprocity requirements permit admission without examination, but they limit admission to those candidates who are licensed in reciprocal states—states that also permit admission on motion. Reciprocity jurisdictions require that candidates from all nonreciprocal states take the bar exam before gaining admission.

In Ohio, an applicant from any jurisdiction who meets the requirements set forth in Gov. Bar R. I, Sec. 9 may apply for admission without examination.

Download Application Materials

Return to top

Adobe PDF PDF files may be viewed, printed, and searched using the free Acrobat® Reader
Acrobat Reader is a trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated.