Information & Applications » Rule 715 - For Qualifying Graduates of Foreign Law Schools » Rule 715 Qualifying Graduates of Foreign Law Schools General Information
QUALIFYING graduates of foreign law schools may request permission from the Board to sit for the Illinois bar examination under Rule 715. However, only those foreign law school graduates who meet 3 threshold requirements can possibly qualify to make such a request.
Admission on examination by qualifying graduates of foreign law schools is authorized and governed by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 715.
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A. Threshold requirements
A lawyer who received his or her legal education and law degree in a country other than the US must meet the following 3 requirements before he or she will be permitted to request permission to sit for the Illinois bar examination.
1. The lawyer must have been licensed to practice law in the country in which the law degree was conferred and/or in the highest court of law in any US state, territory, or the District of Columbia for a minimum of 5 years;
2. The lawyer must be in good standing as an attorney or equivalent in that country and/or in any
US jurisdiction where admitted to practice;
3. During each of no fewer than 5 of the 7 years immediately prior to making application in Illinois, the lawyer must have verifiably devoted an annual minimum of 1,000 hours to the practice of the law of such country and/or to the law of any US jurisdiction(s) where licensed. Unless you satisfy ALL of the foregoing threshold requirements, you are not eligible to apply for permission to sit for the bar examination under Rule 715.
B. How to INITIATE a request for permission to sit for the Illinois bar exam
If you believe that you meet the 3 foregoing threshold requirements, you may initiate your request for permission to sit for the bar exam by completing the Preliminary Questionnaire for Rule 715. Your Preliminary Questionnaire (PQ) must be completed on this website, electronically filed, and approved in writing before you may request permission to sit for the bar exam. YOU MUST OBTAIN AN NCBE NUMBER. YOU WILL NEED TO SELECT PERSONAL INFO IN THE UPPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER OF YOUR ONLINE APPLICATION AND OBTAIN THE NUMBER PER THE INSTRUCTIONS.
After your PQ has been submitted and reviewed, you will be advised by email whether it has been provisionally approved, disapproved, or that further information is needed. Provisional approval of your PQ ONLY means that based upon the information you have supplied you may meet the 3 threshold requirements specified above. As a result, however, you may then COMPLETE a request for permission to sit for the bar exam.
C. How to COMPLETE a request for permission to sit for the Illinois bar exam
If and when your PQ is provisionally approved, you will be supplied with a package of special Rule 715 paper instructions and forms. You must then complete or obtain and properly submit all of the forms and documents that have been provided to you or are otherwise required, along with the bar examination application fee applicable at the time your fully completed request for permission to sit is filed.
Your application is not considered submitted until you pay the required fee.
D. What must occur before you receive a decision
In order to determine your eligibility to sit for the bar examination under Rule 715, the Board must ascertain whether the quality of your preliminary, college and legal education is acceptable for admission to the bar of Illinois. In making this determination, the Board may consider any matters deemed relevant including without limitation the jurisprudence of the country where you were educated, the curriculum and course of studies completed, accreditation of law schools attended, subsequent legal education in the foreign country and the US, and bar admission in other US jurisdictions. If the Board determines that the quality of such education is acceptable for admission to the bar of Illinois, and all other requirements are met, you will be permitted to register for the next succeeding bar exam for which registration becomes or remains open.
Click here to initiate application for Rule 715 »