Rules of Waiving-in to a State’s Bar from Another State

When it comes to recruiting our firm considers every option, including out-of-state candidates. Sometimes attorneys have ties to Arizona or they simply have always wanted to live here, but what are the options for those who have not taken Arizona’s bar examination? 



Practicing Law & Bypassing the Bar Examination

Typically, practicing law in a particular jurisdiction requires passing that jurisdiction’s unique bar exam. However, there are situations in which some states may allow eligible candidates to bypass the examination entirely.

For those relocating to another state, taking advantage of bar reciprocity can provide an excellent opportunity.



Bar Reciprocity

Considered by many to be the easiest way to begin practicing law in another state, bar reciprocity (also known as “admission on motion”) allows attorneys licensed in other states to waive-in to a new jurisdiction without completing that jurisdiction’s bar exam. 

Bar Reciprocity in Arizona relies on ASCR 34(f) and allows firms to recruit new talent to practice in Arizona. In order for attorneys from out-of-state to practice here they must meet one of the following prerequisites:

  • They must have been admitted via bar exam in a reciprocal jurisdiction allowing similar admission standards to that of Arizona.
  • They must have engaged in active legal practice within a reciprocal jurisdiction.

Once admitted to any reciprocal jurisdiction, active legal practice may be counted toward bar reciprocity, even if it is conducted in a non-reciprocal jurisdiction; there is no requirement that active practice must occur in reciprocal jurisdiction.



Reciprocal Jurisdictions 

Currently, reciprocity has been established with the following jurisdictions:


Alaska Colorado District of Columbia Georgia Idaho Illinois
Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Maine Massachusetts
Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska
New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota
Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania South Dakota Tennessee
Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington Wisconsin


This list may be updated at any time, so it is recommended to check the Arizona Judicial Branch website.



Other Arizona Bar Reciprocity Prerequisites 

Besides the primary prerequisites, attorneys seeking to practice law in Arizona must also abide by the following rules: 

  • Possess a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school
  • Earned (or will earn) a minimum score of 85 on the MPRE
  • Possess current moral fitness
  • Be in good standing in all other jurisdictions wherever law has been practiced previously 
  • Actively practiced law for three of the prior five years (i.e., have an active license and at least 1,000 hours per year practicing law, as well as made at least 50% of their income from practicing)

Admission to Arizona Bar Reciprocity is based upon the receipt of a complete bar application. Other requirements to be considered can be checked by downloading the following checklist.