The Rules of Admission to the Bar of the Vermont Supreme Court set out three paths to admission to the Vermont bar:

  1. Admission by examination via the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE)
  2. Admission by transferred UBE score
  3. Admission without examination

The Board of Bar Examiners and the Character and Fitness Committee oversee the process of admission to the Vermont bar in accordance with the Rules of Admission.

General Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the Vermont bar, you must:

  1. Be at least 18 years old;
  2. Be a U.S. citizen or an alien who is lawfully present in the U.S.;
  3. Meet the character and fitness requirements set out in the Rules of Admission and;
  4. Demonstrate minimal professional competence by satisfying the requirements for admission by examination, transferred UBE score, or without examination.
Educational Requirements

To sit for the UBE in Vermont or be admitted to the Vermont bar by transferred UBE score, you must have:

  1. Graduated from an approved law school or satisfied the requirements for early examination in Rule 9(c)(5) of the Rules of Admission;
  2. Completed the Law Office Study Program; or
  3. Graduated from a nonapproved Law School, if you have met the equivalency requirements.

You do not need to meet these requirements for admission without examination. For further information, see Rule 8 of the Rules of Admission.

Nonapproved U.S. Law Schools

If you have graduated from a U.S. law school that has not been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), you can satisfy the educational requirements for admission by examination and admission by transferred UBE score if you demonstrate that the law school you attended was in the process of obtaining ABA approval during the time you attended and has not since been denied accreditation. You must also provide an official transcript of your course of study, including your date of graduation.

Foreign Law Schools

If you have graduated from a law school outside the U.S., you can satisfy the educational requirements for admission by examination and admission by transferred UBE score if you establish that the education you obtained is equivalent to that from an ABA-approved school in the U.S. You must also establish that you have been admitted to the bar of a court of general jurisdiction in the country in which you attended law school and have maintained good standing in that bar or resigned from that bar while in good standing.

The application for an equivalency determination of a foreign law school is available here:

This application is due by the preceding December 1 to sit for the July bar exam and by the preceding August 1 to sit for the February bar exam. You bear the cost of the equivalency determination, which may include the Board of Bar Examiners retaining an expert to assist in the equivalency determination.

Law Office Study Program

One way to satisfy the educational requirements for admission by examination and admission by transferred UBE score is by completing Vermont’s Law Office Study Program (“LOS Program”). The LOS Program requires you to work under the supervision of an experienced Vermont judge or attorney for four years and to follow a systematic course of study. 

To be eligible for the LOS Program, you must have earned a bachelor’s degree from a college or university within the United States that is authorized to grant a bachelor’s degree by the law of the state in which it is located.

To enroll in the LOS Program, complete and submit the LOS Program Registration and the LOS Program Notice of Commencement:

For further information, see Rule 7 of the Rules of Admission.

Admission by Examination

The Vermont Supreme Court adopted the Uniform Bar Examination in February 2016. The UBE is given twice a year in Vermont, in February and July.   Applications for the February exam are due December 1. Applications for the July exam are due May 1. A passing score in Vermont is 270 or higher.

To be eligible to sit for the UBE in Vermont, you must:

  1. Meet the educational requirements;
  2. Take the UBE within five years of having graduated from law school or completing the Law Office Study Program; and
  3. Not have failed the bar examination on four or more occasions. (Any attempts at the Uniform Bar Examination regardless of jurisdiction, and any attempts at the Vermont bar exam, count towards this limit.)

You must take all parts of the UBE at a single administration of the exam.

For further information, see Rule 9 of the Rules of Admission.

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)

The MPRE is an exam administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) that measures comprehension of accepted professional practices of attorneys.  In addition to achieving a passing score (270 or greater) on the bar exam, you must achieve a score of 80 or higher on the MPRE no earlier than three years before taking the bar exam, or one year after being notified of passing the UBE, to advance in the admissions process.  You must arrange for the NCBE to report your MPRE score to Vermont.

Admission by Transferred UBE Score

You may move for admission to the Vermont bar by transferring your Uniform Bar Examination score from another UBE jurisdiction.  You must arrange for the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) to transfer your UBE score to Vermont.

To be admitted by transferred UBE score, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You must meet the educational requirements;
  2. You must have earned a passing UBE score of 270 or greater;
  3. Your passing score must have been achieved at an administration of the UBE no more than three years before the date on which you file your application or— if you have been actively engaged in the practice of law for at least two years in another U.S. jurisdiction in which you were a member in good standing—no more than five years before the date on which you file your application;
  4. Your passing score must have been achieved at an administration of the UBE no later than five years after graduating from law school or completing the Law Office Study Program; and
  5. You must have achieved the passing score in no more than four sittings of the UBE.

For further information, see Rule 13 of the Rules of Admission.

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)

The MPRE is an exam administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) that measures comprehension of accepted professional practices of attorneys. In addition to the above requirements, you must achieve a score of 80 or greater on the MPRE taken no earlier than three years before the date you filed the application for admission by transferred UBE score. You must arrange for the NCBE to report your MPRE score to Vermont.

Admission Without Examination

If you are an attorney presently licensed in another U.S. jurisdiction, you may apply for admission to the Vermont bar without examination.

To be admitted without examination, you must:

  1. Be currently licensed in another U.S. jurisdiction, in good standing, and not be suspended or disbarred;
  2. Have been actively engaged in the practice of law for no less than five of the 10 years immediately preceding the filing of the application (or, if you have been admitted in New Hampshire and Maine, been actively engaged in the practice of law for no less than three years immediately preceding the filing of the application); and
  3. Not have failed the Vermont bar exam or scored lower than 270 on the UBE within the five years immediately preceding the filing of the application.

For further information, see Rules 14 and 15 of the Rules of Admission.

First-Year Requirements for Newly Admitted Attorneys

CLE Requirement

In addition to mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) requirements that all attorneys are subject to, newly admitted attorneys must complete 15 hours of specially approved continuing legal education courses on Vermont practice and procedure.  At least 6 of the 15 hours must be earned by attendance at live courses.  The 15 hours must be completed no earlier than 6 months before sitting for the bar exam (or 1 year prior to admission for attorneys admitted without examination) and no later than 1 year after admission.  Note that continuing legal education courses taken to satisfy the first-year CLE requirement will count toward the MCLE requirement during your first reporting period.  For more information on MCLE requirements, visit the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education page.

A list of approved courses for newly admitted attorneys can be found here:

The Vermont Bar Association (VBA) has also been approved to provide courses to satisfy the first-year continuing legal education requirements. The VBA’s list of courses can be found here.

You must certify completion of the first-year continuing legal education requirement by submitting a Certification of Compliance with First-Year CLE Requirements:

Failure to file a Certification of Completion within one year of admission will result in administrative suspension of your license to practice law.

Mentorship Requirement

If you are admitted by examination or transferred UBE score, you must also complete a six-month mentorship with a judge or attorney admitted to the Vermont bar for at least three years. As part of the mentorship, you must meet regularly with your supervising judge or attorney, no less than 10 times, to discuss your practice and issues relevant to Vermont practice and procedure. You must also engage in at least 40 hours of activities on the mentorship program list. The mentorship must be completed within the first year after admission.

You must certify completion of the first-year mentorship requirement by submitting a Certification of Compliance with Mentorship:

Your supervising judge or attorney must also submit a Supervisor’s Certification of Compliance with Mentorship:

Failure to file these Certifications of Compliance within one year of admission will result in administrative suspension of your license to practice law.

If you achieved a passing score on the July 2016, February 2017, or July 2017 Vermont bar exam, you may be able to use a previously-completed clerkship to satisfy the mentorship requirement.  For more information, please review the Transitional Policy on Clerkships:

The Application Process

Beginning Your Application

No matter which path to admission you choose, you must start the application process by completing the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) Standard Character and Fitness Electronic Application, which can be found here.  If you haven’t done so already, you will need to create an NCBE Account to access the Character and Fitness Electronic Application.

Once you complete the NCBE application, the NCBE will direct you to the additional application and forms required by the Vermont Board of Bar Examiners.  By design, those Vermont-specific application and forms are not made available until after you have completed the NCBE Standard Character and Fitness Electronic Application.

As part of the application process, you must also arrange for the NCBE to report your relevant scores (transferred UBE, MPRE) to Vermont.

Reminder: Vermont-specific applications to sit for the February exam are due December 1.  Vermont-specific applications to sit for the July exam are due May 1.  

Exam Accommodations

If you have a disability and need to request an accommodation for the bar exam, you should complete and submit the Request for Accommodations on Bar Exam:

Requests for accommodations are due December 1 for the February exam and on May 1 for the July exam.

The Board of Bar Examiners has also issued an information sheet concerning accommodations for breastfeeding during the examination:

Board of Bar Examiners Review

Once your completed Vermont-specific application is received, it is reviewed by the Board of Bar Examiners or its designee, usually at the Board’s first meeting following receipt of the complete application.  The Board meets the second Wednesday of each month.  The Board will determine whether you meet the relevant criteria (to sit for the Vermont bar exam, to be admitted by transferred UBE score, or to be admitted without examination) and you will be notified of the Board’s decision.

Character and Fitness Committee Review

Once your application is either approved by the Board of Bar Examiners (for admission by transferred UBE score or admission without examination) or you pass the UBE (for admission by examination), and your character and fitness report is received from the NCBE, your application is forwarded to the Character and Fitness Committee for character and fitness review.  It is your burden to demonstrate to the Committee that you possess the necessary moral character and fitness for admission to the bar.  You will be notified of the Committee’s decision.

If the Character and Fitness Committee does not certify your character and fitness upon initial review, an evidentiary hearing is held before a panel of the Committee in accordance with Rules 16(e)(2) and 17 of the Rules of Admission.

Supreme Court Approval

Once you have been certified by the Character and Fitness Committee, and we receive proof of an eligible passing MPRE score (for examination and transferred UBE applicants), your name is placed on the Board of Bar Examiner’s next motion for admission to the Vermont Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court considers motions for admission at its monthly administrative meetings.  If the Supreme Court approves the Board of Bar Examiner’s motion, you will be invited to join the bar.

Licensing

Once notified of the approval by the Supreme Court, you have 90 days to:

  1. Take the Attorney’s Oath;
  2. Complete and return the required licensing statement and forms; and
  3. Pay the licensing fee.

Upon our receipt of the certification of the oath, licensing statement, and licensing fee, your licensing card will be issued.  When you receive the licensing card, you will then be licensed to practice law in Vermont.

Fees

The fees associated with the admissions process can be found on the fee schedule approved by the Court Administrator’s Office.  Please note that these fees are in addition to the fee for the character and fitness investigation by the National Conference of Bar Examiners required of all applicants.