Bar Exam Filter: DC, VA or MD bar?
November 4, 2008 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I just passed MA and am considering a move to DC. I'm looking for advice on which bar exam to potentially sit for in February 2009.

I'm considering a move to DC in the next few months but I don't have a job there yet. Ideally, that would be the first step but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to make it happen without first getting licensed. I just passed MA and am considering VA, MD, or DC for February. I've got civil litigation experience here in a general practice firm, in addition to a bit of real estate and wills/trusts. I'm hoping to do employment law, either in-house, or as an associate, as a next step. I don't have the credentials for a big firm position but I've got a decent amount of legal professional experience, having worked full time through law school and the bar. Given this, which state should I focus on licensure in first? I'm thinking VA but am very interested to hear from lawyers practicing in the area about what the market is like, in addition to the relative difficulty of the exams, which I know has been commented on here in the past.
posted by smallstatic to Law & Government (6 answers total)
You can waive into D.C. from MA, there's no need to take another bar exam unless you'd like another state to have the option of practicing in.

My research suggests that the MD bar is a bit easier than VA, though. I have no idea which market suits you better, though.
posted by toomuchpete at 1:01 PM on November 4, 2008

MD requires no continuing ed credit, while I believe VA requires something every year. Because I work in DC I took MD, then waived into DC, and it was a win-win.

Sorry, don't know much about the prospective job markets, though, except that government jobs have been tough for a while. With a new administration, though, whether it be McCain or Obama, there may be a fair amount of turnaround in DC and a fair number of openings soon.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:45 PM on November 4, 2008

You can waive into DC from any state in the union, but many employers in the city require you to be a member of either the VA or MD bar anyways. I'd say get yourself a job first, then deal with the bar admittance later.
posted by valkyryn at 2:47 PM on November 4, 2008

Virginia requires you to take the exam in court dress. Enough said.

Definitely apply for waiver in DC, but be warned that they've got a six-month backlog.
posted by averyoldworld at 3:42 PM on November 4, 2008

Best answer: Although I've since fled for balmier climes, I took VA and waived into DC (I had already passed FL years prior.)

VA is a difficult test, but it's doable. I seem to recall that MD allows you to use your MBE scores if you take VA first; not so in reverse.

The job market in DC ought to pick up very soon; government is just about the only industry that's not suffering and every firm there has some kind of regulatory practice. Employment law? Probably less so.
posted by mikewas at 9:35 AM on November 5, 2008

Federal employment law will be booming.

Md is easier than VA.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:54 PM on November 5, 2008

« Older Do I love him? Turns out, it's a complex question.   |   What's a reasonable amount of sugar to be... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.