State By State Requirements to Become a Lawyer

Law Career in Oklahoma

Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Bar Association indicate that as of May 2011, there were 16,766 active, practicing bar members in Oklahoma. The majority (5212) worked in Oklahoma County, followed by Tulsa County and Washington County (the state’s three most populated counties). Oklahoma lawyers practice in a variety of areas of law, including administrative, agricultural, bankruptcy, criminal defense, civil rights, estate planning, employment and labor, immigration law, domestic law, probate, tax law and workers compensation. If you would like to become a practicing lawyer in Oklahoma and a member of the mandatory Oklahoma Bar Association, keep reading.
 

Step 1

Receive Your Oklahoma Undergrad Pre-Law Major

The Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners requires that you have at least a bachelor’s degree before entering law school, if you plan to take the state’s bar exam at some time in the future.

Accreditation

The Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners demands that the undergraduate institution you attend have credits that are transferrable to the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University or the University of Tulsa. Only then will the Board recognize your undergraduate education as valid. The American Bar Association needs a bit more accreditation of your undergraduate college or university. It must be accredited by a recognized agency listed with the in order for ABA-accredited law schools to recognize the validity of your undergraduate degree. U.S. Department of Education

Requirements and Standards

Under rules of the Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners, you must complete 120 credit hours in the pursuit of your bachelor’s degree (90 of which must represent resident study). These credit hours may be in any field or discipline that you choose.

Degree Options

The Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners says that you may obtain a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree prior to entering law school.


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Step 2

LSAT (Law School Admission Test) in Oklahoma

The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is required for admission to ABA-accredited law schools across the United States. Taking this exam represents the next step in your quest to become an Oklahoma lawyer.  

How to prepare

You can prepare easily, and for free, by taking practice tests at the LSAT website, provided by the sponsor of this standardized examination, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). If you would rather pay for a LSAT review course in preparation to take this important exam, options in Oklahoma include:   
LSAT Exam Prep Courses in Oklahoma:

Exam content

The LSAT is a six-hour long standardized test of your abilities in reading comprehension and writing, as well as your abilities in logic, analysis and reasoning. You will see mostly multiple-choice questions, plus one essay question (that is not graded). Although the essay question does not count as part of your total LSAT score, it will be used by law schools to which you apply to evaluate your writing skills. It is more a test of your abilities and capabilities than of your knowledge of any particular subject.

Application process

The opportunity to take the LSAT presents itself four times annually: in October, December, February and June. The test is offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Apply online to take the LSAT at one of the following Oklahoma examination centers:

  • University of Central Oklahoma, 100 N University Dr, Edmond, OK 73034
  • Cameron University, 2800 Gore Blvd, Lawton, OK 73505
  • University of Oklahoma, 1100 N Lindsay, Oklahoma City, OK 73104-5499
  • Oklahoma City University, 2501 N Blackwelder, Oklahoma City, OK 73106-1402
  • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078
  • Tulsa Community College, 6111 E Skelly Dr, Tulsa, OK 74135
  • University of Tulsa, 600 S College Ave, Tulsa, OK 74104-3189

Receiving Your Score

Expect to receive your LSAT score via mail about three weeks after taking the test. It will be between 120 and 180. Average LSAT scores accepted at Oklahoma law schools include:

  • University of Oklahoma College of Law:                159
  • Oklahoma City University School of Law:              150
  • University of Tulsa College of Law:                         155

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Step 3

Go to Law School in Oklahoma

Application process

The Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners has ruled that you must graduate from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. Once you have your bachelor’s degree and have passed the LSAT, you are ready to begin the law school application process. You may attend any of the more than 200 ABA-accredited law schools listed in the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law School – it need not be located in Oklahoma.

Credential Assembly Service

All ABA-accredited law schools nationwide mandate that you use the Law School Admission Council’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) when you apply for admission. It helps you in getting all undergraduate transcripts together, gathering letters of recommendation and evaluations from those who are familiar with your character and your work, and streamlines the application process to law schools. The CAS will create up to five law school reports and apply electronically for you to these schools, using the collected information. You may sign up online with the LSAC and pay through your LSAC account to use the CAS.

Accreditation

The Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners mandates that all who take the state’s bar exam must have a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an ABA-accredited law institution. Graduates of law schools that are not accredited by the ABA and of law schools within foreign countries are not allowed to take the Oklahoma bar exam.

ABA-Accredited Law Schools in Oklahoma

These Oklahoma law schools are ABA accredited:

Course requirements

These subjects are tested on Oklahoma’s bar exam and are expected to be a part of the curriculum of any ABA-accredited law school in the state:

  • Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Commercial Law
  • Property
  • Procedural Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Business Associations
  • Constitutional Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Torts
  • Intestate Succession
  • Conflicts of Law
  • Family Law

Online Law Degrees

Internship

Clinical work is an important part of the curriculum in law school. It gives students the opportunity to use in a practical situation what is learned in the classroom. Depending upon your law school, clinical offerings may vary. They may consist of legal clinics in which you work with poor clients; private law firms in which you work as an intern; government agencies in which you work as an intern; and the state legislature.

Law Student Registration

If you ever intend to take the Oklahoma bar exam, you must register with the Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners as a law student by October 15 of your second year of law school. Registration is separate from applying to take the state’s bar exam. You must use the Online Application for Law Student Registration. Print it out, sign it, have it notarized, and mail it to the Board of Bar Examiners along with the following supporting documentation:

  • Passport-type photo of yourself
  • Official certified transcript showing receipt of your bachelor’s degree
  • Two copies of the completed NCBE Application for Character Report (instructions are found within the registration application)
  • Three official executed Authorization and Release forms
  • Filing fee payable to Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners in the amount of $125 (payable by check, money order or credit card)
  • NCBE fee (will be noted on the application, payable to NCBE)

Mail your completed application to Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners, P.O. Box 53036, Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3036.

Degree Programs

Under rules of the Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners, you must have a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an ABA-approved law school. Many of these law schools offer dual degree programs (that is, a J.D. in combination with a Master’s degree in another subject) or concentrations. Examples in Oklahoma include:

  • Joint Degree Programs:
    • University of Oklahoma College of Law:
      • J.D. and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)
      • J.D. and Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)
      • J.D. and Master of Science or Arts (M.S. or M.A.)
    • Oklahoma City University School of Law:
      • J.D./M.B.A.
    • University of Tulsa College of Law:
      • J.D./M.A. in Anthropology
      • J.D./M.S. in Biological Sciences
      • J.D./M.B.A.
      • J.D./M.A. in Clinical Psychology
      • J.D./M.A. in Computer Science
      • J.D./M.A. in English
      • J.D./M.S. in Geosciences
      • J.D. /M.A. in History
      • J.D./M.A. in Industrial Organization Psychology
  • Concentrations:
    • University of Oklahoma College of Law:
      • Native American Law
    • University of Tulsa College of Law:
      • Comparative International Law
      • Entrepreneurial Law
      • Health Law
      • Native American Law
      • Public Policy
      • Resources, Energy and Environmental Law

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Step 4

Take the Oklahoma State Bar Exam

After completing Steps 1, 2, and 3, you are ready to apply to take the Oklahoma bar examination.

Preparation

You can prepare for the Multistate Bar Exam portion of the Oklahoma Bar Exam by studying free information at the National Conference of Bar Examiners website . Other options for students preparing for the Oklahoma bar exam include:

Exam content

The Oklahoma Bar Exam is given in a two-day period in Oklahoma City in February and July. The first day consists of answering 16 essay questions (30 minutes per question). The following subjects may be tested:

  • Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Commercial Law (includes contracts, Uniform Commercial Code, consumer law, creditor’s rights, and bankruptcy)
  • Property
  • Procedural Law (includes practice, pleadings, remedies and evidence)
  • Criminal Law
  • Business Associations (includes partnerships, agencies, corporations and limited liability companies)
  • Constitutional Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Torts
  • Intestate Succession (includes estates, wills, trusts, estate planning, and federal estate and gift taxation)
  • Conflicts of Law
  • Family Law

The second day consists of the Multistate Bar Exam, 200 multiple-choice questions on the following subjects:

    • Contracts
    • Torts
    • Criminal law and procedure
    • Constitutional law
    • Evidence
    • Real property
    •  

Application Process

Complete the online Exam Application by Registered Law Student. The filing deadline is six months prior to the date of the bar examination you plan to take (September 1 for the February exam and February 1 for the July exam). The exam fee is $300, payable to the Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners. Along with your completed, printed application:

  • Attach a passport-type photo of yourself
  • Sign and notarize the Affidavit, Authorization and Release
  • Attach a certified law school transcript showing final semester grades and receipt of your JD degree
  • MPRE score report (see below)

Mail all of the above to Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners, P.O. Box 53036, Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3036.

Pass Rates

The Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners says that 77 percent of all test-takers passed their most recent (February 2012) bar examination. A list of those who successfully passed is here.

Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)

Before you can be admitted to the Oklahoma bar, you must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) with a scaled score of at least 75. You must take the MPRE within one year of passing the Oklahoma bar exam. Apply online with the NCBE to take the MPRE.

Admission on Motion

Are you a licensed attorney in another jurisdiction and wish to become a member of the Oklahoma bar? You may be eligible for admission without examination, also known as admission on motion. You must meet these requirements:

  • Be a member of a reciprocal jurisdiction’s bar in good standing and in active status
  • Have actively, continuously practiced law there for five of the past seven years
  • Be a graduate of an ABA-approved law school
  • Have never previously taken the Oklahoma bar exam.

Currently, these jurisdictions are reciprocal with Oklahoma: AL, AZ, AK, AR, CO, CT, DC, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NH, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI and WY.
If you qualify, complete the Admission on Motion-Reciprocity  application and pay the fee of $1500 to the Board of Bar Examiners. This application may be filed at any time (no deadlines exist). Allow the Board at least four months to process your application. 

Licensing and Admission to the Bar

You should receive your bar exam results approximately nine weeks after taking the exam, via postal mail. You will be notified of the time and place of your admission ceremony, where you will take the Oath of Attorney and sign the Roll of Attorneys. You will then automatically become a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association and receive your bar card and permanent identification number.

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Step 5

You’ve Been Admitted to the Oklahoma Bar

You have worked hard, passed all necessary examinations and are now a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association! Take advantage of the many legal resources provided by the OBA, including member benefits such as networking, practice management, access to online services, publications and sections of the association that may be relevant to your practice area. The OBA can also help you achieve the perfect work/life balance, assist you with crisis counseling, and provide job search services.

A quick search of online classifieds shows that in Oklahoma in 2012, jobs for legal counsel with various companies abound. Oklahoma companies that may be in need of legal help include MidFirst Bank in Oklahoma city, Travelers Company in Oklahoma City, Bank of Oklahoma in Tulsa, Axis HealthCare in Tulsa, and Gateway Mortgage Group in Tulsa.

Nonprofit organizations are often a great way to get your start in the legal profession. In Oklahoma, such organizations include the ACLU of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, Health Teams International in Tulsa, Latin American Cultural Enrichment Services Inc. of Tulsa in Broken Arrow, American Community Foundation in Manchester, Oklahoma Lawyers for Children in Oklahoma City, and Learning Disabilities Association of Oklahoma in Stillwater.

Major law firms throughout Oklahoma often hire new law school graduates. Opportunities may exist at firms like multipractice specialists Crowe & Dunlevy in Oklahoma City, full-service firm McAfee & Taft in Oklahoma City, global practice firm Major Lindsey & Africa in Tulsa, and corporate litigators Stauffer & Nathan Law Firm in Tulsa.

Legal specialty certification

Under Oklahoma’s Rules of Professional Conduct, you are not allowed to advertise yourself as a “specialist” in an area of law unless you are certified or recognized following procedures approved by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. However, as of 2012, Oklahoma has no procedure for approving certifying organizations. If you decide to become certified to specialize in a practice area, make sure that when you advertise yourself as such, you add a footnote stating that Oklahoma currently has no procedure for approving certifying organizations.

Requirements for maintaining license

Oklahoma requires all lawyers to complete 12 hours of mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) per year, including one hour of ethics. MCLE may be earned in the following ways:

  • Through watching online video programs
  • Through listening to online, downloadable audio programs
  • From attendance at live programs
  • From Webcast seminars and encores
  • From Webinars (in real time)
  • From telephone seminars
  • From video seminars

For more  information on MCLE in Oklahoma, contact the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Department of the OBA at 405-416-7009 or mcle@okbar.org.

Court Systems in Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s court system has the following structure:

  • Oklahoma Supreme Court: one of the state’s two courts of last resort, determines all civil appeals, has only immediate jurisdiction over new issues, important issues of law, or matters of great public interest. It is located in Oklahoma City.
  • Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals: the second of Oklahoma’s courts of last resort, located in Oklahoma City, decides all criminal appeals (including death penalty cases).
  • Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals: Oklahoma’s intermediate appellate court, responsible for the majority of appeals from trial court decisions. Two divisions are in Tulsa and two are in Oklahoma City.
  • District Court: There are 77 districts in Oklahoma, with 75 district, 77 associate district, and 89 special judges. Jury trials are held in district courts. They have exclusive jurisdiction in civil cases and small claims up to $6000, domestic relations, criminal, juvenile, traffic infractions and ordinance violation cases.
  • Court of Tax Review: Located in Oklahoma City, the Court of Tax Review judges hear administrative agency appeals involving improper taxes imposed by county and city governments. No jury trials are held here.
  • Municipal Court Not of Record: 340 courts across the state hear cases involving traffic and other types of city ordinance violations.
  • Municipal Court of Record: Two courts in Oklahoma hear cases involving traffic and other types of city ordinance violations.

Elective membership organizations

You might want to consider becoming a member of one of the following specialized membership organizations for attorneys who fall into certain categories, such as:

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Oklahoma Resources

General Resources

Law Exams

Lawyer Career Specialties

  Oklahoma Statistics:
 
OK Active Lawyers 16,766
Average Annual Wage $79,380

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