Follow the step by step process or choose what situation that best describes you:
According to the Office of Criminal Justice Services of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, violent crimes in Ohio decreased by 10 percent between 2001 and 2010. Ohio ranked the 23rd lowest murder rate in the nation in 2010. The same report notes that the majority of robberies in Ohio (41 percent) occurred on the street or highway (2009 data). Aggravated assault in Ohio decreased by 13 percent between 2001 and 2010. One area in which crime has increased in the state, however, is property crime. By 2000, Ohio’s property crime rate was higher than that of the nation, nearing 4000 per 100,000 population. If you wish to become a criminal lawyer in Ohio, it is important to understand the state’s crime statistics. Of course, many other types of lawyers practice in Ohio, including those specializing in workers’ compensation, property law, wills and estates, and civil law. The only way to achieve the goal of becoming a lawyer in Ohio is to know the steps to take to reach that goal. Keep reading to discover this path.
The Office of Bar Admissions of the Supreme Court of Ohio requires that you obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in one of the following ways:
Under the rules of the Office of Bar Admissions of the Supreme Court of Ohio, one of the following accreditation agencies must approve your undergraduate college or university:
If you received your undergraduate education in a foreign country, you must submit an education evaluation completed by a Court-approved education evaluation service. This evaluation must prove that you have completed at least three years of full-time, post-secondary education in order for your education to be equivalent to undergraduate standards of the Court. Review the Court’s Guidelines for Requesting Evaluation of Foreign Education for details.
Requirements and Standards
Your undergraduate education must culminate in a bachelor’s degree. The coursework and major you select is entirely up to you. Some undergraduate courses may better prepare you for law school than others. These include courses in political science and government, history, business and economics, communications, philosophy, and the social science.
You must have a bachelor’s degree that took at least three years of full-time schooling to complete. This degree may be a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in any subject in which you are interested and that challenges you.
Rasmussen College offers online Paralegal Associate's Degree and Post-Degree Certificate programs designed to give you the skills you need to provide expert legal support services, while preparing you for the CLA/CP Exam.
When you have obtained your bachelor’s degree, the next step on the road to law school is to pass the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). The six-hour-long standardized admission examination is necessary in order to gain entrance into any American Bar Association (ABA)-approved law school in the nation.
How to prepare
You can find free study resources provided by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) at the LSAT website. If you wish to take a formal LSAT review course, resources in Ohio include:
LSAT Exam Prep Courses in Ohio:
The LSAT is structured in the following manner:
The LSAC accepts LSAT applications online. You may select the month in which you want to take it (December, February, June or October) and your preferred day (Wednesday or Saturday). Ohio LSAT examination centers are:
Receiving Your Score
You will receive your LSAT score by mail about 21 days after the test. The lowest score you can get is 120 and the highest, 180. Examples of median LSAT scores accepted by law schools in Ohio are:
Ohio Law School Application process
After passing the LSAT, you are ready to begin the process of applying to the ABA-approved law schools of your choice. Choose from over 200 of them listed in the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools. Ohio’s bar admission rules state that you must graduate from an ABA-approved law school located in the United States or receive a foreign equivalency evaluation of your law education if it was obtained in a foreign country.
Credential Assembly Service
The Law School Admission Council’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) is a valuable tool that is mandatory to use when applying for enrollment at any ABA-approved law school. The CAS assists you in collecting transcripts from your undergraduate college and from any institution that you have attended and received college credit up to this point. The CAS also helps you contact people to write your letters of recommendation and online evaluations. The CAS will prepare law school reports for up to five law schools you choose, and will process your applications to these schools electronically.
The Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio state that you must graduate with a law degree from an ABA-accredited law school. If your law school was in a foreign country, you must have your legal education evaluated by a Court-approved education evaluation service. Additionally, you must submit a transcript that shows you have completed 30 credits hours at an ABA-approved law school within no longer than a 48 month period. Review the Court’s Guidelines for Requesting Evaluation of Foreign Education for further information on the evaluation process and Court-approved evaluation agencies, World Education Services and Education Credential Evaluators.
ABA-Accredited Law Schools in Ohio
These law schools in Ohio are ABA-accredited:
Courses that you must take in your ABA law school curriculum, as proscribed by the Court, include:
Online Law Degrees
Clinical experience is a vital part of most ABA-approved law school curricula. You might work in a real-life law office, government agency, or non-profit organization to gain experience you cannot learn simply by sitting in a classroom. Some law schools also offer in-house legal clinics in which you work with poor clients in a lawyer capacity. You will be assessed on your clinical performance and assigned a grade by a supervisor and/or law school staff.
The Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio state that you must have a Juris Doctor (J.D.) or L.L.B. degree from an ABA-approved law school (or, if your degree is from a foreign law school, have an education equivalency conducted and complete the correct type and number of courses at an ABA-approved law school).
Law Student Registration
You must register as a law student with the Office of Bar Admissions by November 15 of your second year of law school. Complete the Application to Register as a Candidate for Admission. Instructions to complete all of the forms you need, as well as the forms themselves and additional documentation you must submit, may be found here. As part of the registration process, you will be completing the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) Character Questionnaire online. You must also obtain a fingerprint card from your law school or local police department and complete it, and return it to the Office with your registration materials. Make sure all documents that must be notarized are executed properly. Enclose a $75 fee by certified check or money order only, payable to the Supreme Court of Ohio and the correct fee for the Character Questionnaire, by check or money order only, listed on the NCBE website and payable to the NCBE. Additional documentation that you may be sending includes:
Mail everything to Office of Bar Admissions, Supreme Court of Ohio, 65 South Front Street, 5th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431.
After receiving your law degree from an ABA-accredited law school, if you are 21 years of age or older, you may apply to take the Ohio bar examination.
Non-ABA approved law school graduates
The only non-ABA-approved law school graduates permitted to take the bar exam in Ohio are those who have graduated from a foreign law school and had the appropriate education equivalency evaluation completed (see below). If you graduated from a law school in the United States that was not ABA-accredited at the time of your graduation, you are not eligible to take Ohio’s bar examination.
Graduates of Foreign Law Schools
If you completed your legal education outside of the United States, you must have the World Education Services or Education Credential Evaluators evaluate your legal education for equivalency. Additionally, you must complete 30 credit hours in specified law subjects at an ABA-approved law school. Only after completing these requirements will you be approved by the Court to take Ohio’s bar exam.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners website offers free resources to help you prepare for the national parts of Ohio’s bar exam. This includes the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). The Ohio Board of Law Examiners also offers free study aids for the bar exam here. Paid bar review courses in Ohio in which you might be interested include:
It will take you two and a half days to complete the Ohio Bar Exam. The first day, you will complete six essay questions in the morning and the Multistate Performance Test in the afternoon. Day two is devoted to the Multistate Bar Exam. The third morning you will complete six more essay questions. Topics that may be covered on the Ohio Bar Exam include:
File the Application to Take the Bar Examination. You must complete the forms online, print them and have the applicable forms notarized, and submit the application to the Bar Admissions Office. If you want to take the February bar exam, file your application by November 1. If you want to take the July bar exam, file the application by April 1. When you have completed the application, you must submit the following to the Office:
Everything above must be submitted to Office of Bar Admissions, Supreme Court of Ohio, 65 South Front Street, 5th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431.
As an example of typical bar exam passing rates of students from law schools in Ohio, BarPlus has compiled the following passing rates for the July 2003 Ohio bar exam from these listed Ohio law schools:
|University of Akron School of Law:||79% passed|
|Capital University Law School:||54%|
|Case Western Reserve University School of Law:||82%|
|University of Cincinnati College of Law:||86%|
|Cleveland State University--Cleveland-Marshall College of Law:||65%|
|University of Dayton School of Law:||71%|
|Ohio Northern University --- Claude W. Pettit School of Law:||61%|
|The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law:||89%|
|The University of Toledo College of Law:||67%|
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
Before you can be admitted to the Ohio bar, you must take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) with a scaled score of 85 or above. You may take the MPRE before or after the Ohio bar exam, but must pass it before you can be admitted to the bar. Contact the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) for information on scheduling the examination.
Admission on Motion
If you are already admitted to practice law and a bar member of another U.S. jurisdiction, you may be eligible for admission to the Ohio bar without examination (otherwise known as Admission on Motion). You must meet the following requirements:
If you meet these requirements, file an Application for Admission to the Practice of Law in Ohio Without Examination.
Licensing and Admission to the Bar
You should receive the results of the Ohio bar examination by mail within nine weeks of taking the February exam and within 12 weeks of taking the July exam. You will also be told of the date, time and place of the admission of the oath of office and your induction ceremony. You must take this oath of office: “I, (your name), hereby (swear or affirm) that I will support the Constitution and the laws of the United States and the Constitution and the laws of Ohio, and I will abide by the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. In my capacity as an attorney and officer of the Court, I will conduct myself with dignity and civility and show respect toward judges, court staff, clients, fellow professionals, and all other persons. I will honestly, faithfully, and competently discharge the duties of an attorney at law. (So help me God.)”
You have passed a major milestone in your life and career and are now a member of the Ohio bar! As a new admittee to the bar, you must comply with its New Lawyer Training (NLT) requirements. You must complete 12 hours of NLT by the end of your first two-year continuing legal education (CLE) reporting period. NLT courses are listed in the CLE Activity Search database. These NLT courses will introduce you to the everyday ins and outs of the practice of law in Ohio.
As a new lawyer in Ohio, you have a variety of career options. Should you open your own law practice, join an existing one, or even take a job with a for-profit or non-profit corporation? Many existing law firms throughout the state are looking for new legal talent. Some of the most recognizable names include Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Cleveland and Columbus; Baker & Hostetler in Cleveland; Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Cleveland; Arter & Hadden in Cleveland; and Thompson, Hine & Flory in Cleveland.
Ohio houses many Fortune 500 corporations, some of which may hire new bar members. Key players include Cardinal Health in Dublin, Goodyear Tire & Rubber in Akron; Nationwide in Columbus; Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati; and Parker Hannifin in Cleveland.
Legal specialty certification
The Ohio State Bar Association will provide specialty certification services to Ohio lawyers who are qualified to practice in certain areas. Specialty practice areas include workers’ compensation law, federal taxation law, family relations law and residential real property law. For more information on this process, contact the Ohio State Bar Association Certification Department.
Requirements for maintaining license
As an Ohio lawyer, you must complete 24 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) every two years. At least 2.5 of those hours must be in professional conduct. This must include 30 minutes on substance abuse, one hour on Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, and one hour on professionalism.
Court Systems in Ohio
Here is how the Ohio Judicial System is structured:
Elective membership organizations
Think about joining one of these organizations that may be beneficial to your career as an Ohio lawyer:
Lawyer Career Specialties
|OH Active Lawyers||37,335|
|Average Annual Wage||$99,780|