Title 204—JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS
PART IV. ADMISSION TO PRACTICE LAW
[ 204 PA CODE CH. 71 ]
Proposed Amendment to Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rule 205
[43 Pa.B. 1699]
[Saturday, March 30, 2013]
Notice is hereby given that the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners is considering recommending to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that it amend Rule 205 of the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules concerning Admission of Foreign Attorneys and Graduates of Foreign Institutions as set forth in Annex A. Additions to the text of the rule are shown in bold, and deletions are in bold and brackets.
The proposed amendments address the requirements that are necessary for a graduate of a foreign law school to be eligible to sit for the Pennsylvania bar examination. The practice of law is becoming increasingly international in nature, and there is a need for increased geographic mobility of lawyers. The purpose of the amendments is to make the requirements for permission to take the Pennsylvania bar examination more flexible for qualified foreign attorneys while still maintaining the requirements that are necessary to establish the qualifications of a foreign attorney to sit for the bar examination.
The learning process associated with receiving a competent legal education from an accredited law school has been found to be a complimentary but necessary foundation for the added requirement of passing the bar examination. The Board of Law Examiners does not have a mechanism for monitoring the quality of legal education in foreign countries, and the Supreme Court has decided upon a combination of legal practice and taking a specific number of credits at an ABA accredited law school as a gauge of adequate legal preparation to permit a foreign attorney to take the bar examination.
The proposed amendments continue to maintain a practice and credit requirement for eligibility for a foreign attorney to sit for the bar examination while providing flexibility by allowing a foreign attorney to meet the practice requirement by the practice of law either in the foreign country or in another state, by reducing the total number of credits required from 30 to 24 and by reducing the number of mandatory courses while still ensuring that the required credits be earned from those core subjects that are tested on the bar examination. Additionally, the proposed amendment adds Legal Research and Writing as a required course along with Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure and Professional Responsibility and precludes the required credits from being earned at a foreign law school as part of a program of instruction offered by an accredited law school, or by correspondence, on-line courses or other distance learning courses.
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments regarding the proposed amendments to the Executive Director, Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, Pennsylvania Judicial Center, 601 Commonwealth Av-enue, Suite 3600, P. O. Box 62535, Harrisburg, PA 17106-2535, no later than April 30, 2013.
By The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
GICINE P. BRIGNOLA,
TITLE 204. JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS
PART IV. ADMISSION TO PRACTICE LAW
CHAPTER 71. PENNSYLVANIA BAR ADMISSION RULES
Subchapter B. ADMISSION TO THE BAR GENERALLY
Rule 205. Admission of foreign attorneys and graduates of foreign institutions.
(a) General rule. The Board, under such standards, rules and procedures as it may prescribe, may extend the provisions of Rule 203 (relating to the admission of graduates of accredited and unaccredited institutions) to any applicant who has completed the study of law in a law school which at the time of such completion was not located within the geographical area encompassed by the accreditation activities of the American Bar Association and[;]:
(1) who has been admitted to practice law in and is in good standing at the bar of a foreign country or another state, as evidenced by a certificate from the highest court or agency of such foreign country or state having jurisdiction over admission to the bar and the practice of law and
(2) who has for a period of five years of the last eight years immediately preceding the date of filing of the application for admission to the bar of this Commonwealth engaged in the practice of law in such foreign country or another state. For purposes of this paragraph, the phrase ''engaged in the practice of law'' is defined as ''devoting a major portion of one's time and energy to the rendering of legal services.'' The term ''practice of law'' shall not include providing legal services when such services as undertaken constituted the unauthorized practice of law in the foreign country or state in which the legal services were performed or in the foreign country or state in which the clients receiving the unauthorized services were located.
(b) Law study required. Unless otherwise provided by the Board, applicants who meet the provisions of subparagraph (a) of this [Rule] rule may apply to sit for the Pennsylvania Bar Examination provided they have successfully completed  24 credit hours in an accredited American [Law] law school in the following subjects: Conflict of Laws; Constitutional Law; Contracts; Corporations; Criminal Law; Decedents' Estates; Evidence; Family Law; Federal and/or Pennsylvania Civil Procedure; Federal Income Taxes (personal only); Professional Responsibility; Real Property; Torts; Uniform Commercial Code, Art. II—Sales; [Uniform Commercial Code, Art. III—Commercial Paper; Uniform Commercial Code, Art. IX—Secured Transactions] Legal Research and Writing; and Employment Discrimination. No more than 4 credit hours in any one subject shall be counted toward this requirement. In fulfilling this requirement, applicants must successfully complete up to 4 credits in each of the following subjects: Constitutional Law; [Contracts; Criminal Law; Decedents' Estates; Evidence;] Federal and/or Pennsylvania Civil Procedure; Professional Responsibility; [Real Property; and Torts] and Legal Research and Writing. All coursework for the required credit hours shall be completed at the campus of an accredited law school in the United States. No credit shall be allowed for correspondence courses, on-line courses, courses offered on any other media, or other distance learning courses.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 13-552. Filed for public inspection March 29, 2013, 9:00 a.m.]
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