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The Easiest States in which to Become a Lawyer

Updated on December 10, 2010

There are two requirements to becoming an attorney: law school and the bar examination. Though becoming a lawyer is difficult in the United States, there are three states in which becoming a lawyer is easiest. Easier requirements in California, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma make these states the easiest in which to become an attorney.


California allows potential attorneys to sit for the bar examination even if they have not graduated from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). This means that smaller, local colleges, distance learning programs, and law schools with less competitive admissions standards are all appropriate for bar takers. This means that people who are interested in becoming attorneys but do not necessarily have the credentials to gain admission into an elite school will still have the opportunity to practice law.

Additionally, according to the California Bar, you may even sit for the bar examination if you have not attended law school. Individuals who have training in a law office or with a judge for four years are eligible to take the bar. This allows for apprenticeships in which an individual may work with an attorney or judge for 4 years, learn the skills necessary to be a good lawyer, and then sit for the bar. Applicants who take the bar this route, though, must also take a first-year examination test, which covers material that a student ordinarily would learn in the first year of law school.


The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the state bar could not require applicants to have graduated from an ABA-approved law school. Like in California, applicants who have graduated from a smaller university or a distance learning program still have the opportunity to sit for the bar examination. Institutions such as Concord Law School, an unaccredited distance learning school, ordinarily don't qualify individuals to take the bar exam and become an attorney. Massachusetts, on the other hand, approves of this school.


If you don't like the west coast feel of California or the east coast feel of Massachusetts, Oklahoma may be a good state to consider if you're looking for an easy place to become an attorney. Oklahoma does require that its applicants graduate from an ABA-approved law school, but Oklahoma has the easiest bar exam in the country. 92 percent of all applicants to the bar pass the exam on their first attempt. As a comparison, only 55 percent of test-takers pass the exam in California. Additionally, Oklahoma requires the lowest score in the country on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, which is the lawyers ethics exam. A score of 75 will pass this test in Oklahoma, while California requires an 86.


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