Follow the step by step process or choose what situation that best describes you:
The Colorado Bar Association reports 18,000 members, totaling 63 percent of all active attorneys in the state. Members practice in a wide variety of legal specializations, including agricultural/rural law, business law, communications/technology law, criminal law, disability law, environmental law, family law, immigration law, juvenile law, labor/employment law, real estate law, trust/estate law, and water law. The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) of the U.S. Department of Labor reports the annual median salary of Colorado lawyers in May 2017 at $120,840. There are 4.48 lawyers per 1000 people in Colorado. If you would like to become one of them, keep reading.
The Colorado Supreme Court Board of Law Examiners has not ruled that applicants to the state bar have any pre-legal education. But, because you must graduate from an American Bar Association (ABA) – accredited law school in order to become a bar member, you must have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. ABA-approved law schools require this for entrance.
Your undergraduate institution must be accredited by a national or regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Requirements and Standards
Law schools encourage undergraduate study in any field, with no undergraduate major being better suited for future law school students than another. The ABA has recommended (but does not require) certain coursework that may help pre-law students. This includes:
You must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to enter an ABA-accredited law school. The major of your degree is not specified, but any major taken from or related to the above coursework would be helpful to your future in law school.
All ABA-accredited law schools insist that you pass the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, prior to enrollment. The six-hour test is offered four times annually at testing centers around the globe.
How to prepare
The LSAT website offers a variety of free study resources and materials to help you prepare for the LSAT. Other options for LSAT preparation include:
LSAT Exam Prep Courses in Colorado:
The LSAT is engineered to test abilities and skills that are necessary to be a success in law school and in your future career as a lawyer. These skills include:
You must apply online to take the LSAT and pay the examination fee of $190. The test is given on Mondays and Saturdays in July, September, November and January. These testing centers in Colorado administer the LSAT:
Receiving Your Score
The Law School Admission Council will email your LSAT scores to you about 21 days after you take the exam. The following are the median LSAT scores for students applying to Colorado law schools:
Passing the LSAT places you at the next step in the process of becoming a lawyer in Colorado. Now, you may apply to ABA-approved law schools. There are over 200 ABA-approved law schools in the United States, and each of them requires different things when you apply.
Credential Assembly Service
One of the things you might notice on the list above of requirements for application to ABA-approved law schools are the initials “CAS.” This stands for the LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service, and virtually all ABA-approved law schools require that you use this service when applying for enrollment.
The CAS helps you to organize your credentials and streamlines the application process for applicants and law schools. Using the online account that you created with the LSAC when you signed up for the LSAT, you can upload college transcripts, writing samples, letters of recommendation, and other necessary documents. The CAS will gather these documents and compile a brief summary of the undergraduate institutions you attended. The CAS then creates law school report(s) and sends them electronically to the law schools to which you apply (electronic applications to ABA-approved law schools are also submitted through the CAS).
CAS can also be used to verify and evaluate transcripts for college credit earned outside of the U.S. or Canada. The LSAC charges a fee of $195 for its Credential Assembly Service.
The Colorado Supreme Court Board of Law Examiners has ruled that, in order to take the examination to become a member of the bar, you should have graduated with your first professional law degree from an ABA-accredited law school. (There are rules for graduates from unaccredited or foreign law schools, which will be discussed later). ABA-approved law schools in the United States are listed here. Under the Board’s rules, you need not graduate from an ABA-approved law school in Colorado, as long as the school is ABA-approved and in the United States, its territories, or Canada.
ABA-Accredited Law Schools in Colorado
Two law schools in Colorado hold ABA approval as of 2018:
Foundation courses that you will find in an ABA-approved law school will include contracts, civil law and procedure, criminal law and procedure, writing, real property, torts, Constitutional law, and the history and goals of the legal profession. Additionally, Colorado requires that you complete a six-hour course in professionalism within six months of bar admission. This in-person course must be jointly sponsored by the Colorado Bar Association and the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and will count towards your first Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirement. To find courses, click here.
In addition to these basic law courses, Colorado law schools also offer coursework and concentrations in the following areas:
Online Law Degrees
You will participate in a field placement during your law school years. This may place you into a real law office, government setting, or another work setting for lawyers. Often, law schools offer clinics in which you get the chance to work with a specific population of clientele. These may include entrepreneurs, community law, environmental law, mediation and arbitration, and research centers. You may have the opportunity to represent indigent clients in litigation, under the supervision of faculty and/or supervisors in an on-the-job-setting.
The Colorado Supreme Court Board of Law Examiners says that you must have your first professional law degree from an ABA-accredited law school. This is commonly known as a J.D. (Juris Doctor) degree.
Unaccredited Law Schools
If you attended an un-ABA accredited law school, you may still be eligible for admission to the Colorado bar examination. You must meet the following criteria:
Foreign Law Schools
Did you attend law school outside of the United States? You may still be able to sit for the Colorado bar exam if you meet these requirements:
You are now ready to apply to take the Colorado bar exam. You may apply to take the exam prior to completing law school, but must make sure that your law school verifies this on the application and sends verification to the Board when you receive your J.D. degree. Download the Application to Login to register to take the Colorado Bar Exam here.
Because Colorado uses the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), much information on preparing for the national portions of the exam may be found at the National Conference of Bar Examiners website. The UBE consists of the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). If you would like to take a preparation course, check out the resources below:
The Colorado Bar Exam lasts for two days – Tuesday and Wednesday – and is offered in February and July. There are three sections to the bar exam:
The Colorado Bar Exam Application Filing Fee is $710 as of 2018. Apply through the CiviCore Application Management System online. All information and necessary documentation will be explained to you as you file the application electronically.
You must also schedule an appointment to get fingerprinted electronically. Visit this link to do so.
The Board reports the overall passing rate for the July 2018 Colorado bar exam as 70 percent.
The Board also requires that you complete a six-hour course in professionalism within six months of bar admission. Jointly sponsored by the Colorado Bar Association and the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, this course counts towards your first Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirement. To find courses, click here.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
You must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) with a scaled score of at least 85 before you will be admitted to the Colorado bar. The MPRE is given in Boulder and Denver in March, August and November. See the link above to apply for its next administration.
Admission by UBE Score Achieved in Another State
If you took the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in another state more than three years but less than five years ago, you may qualify for admission to the Colorado bar without taking the Colorado bar exam. You must meet these requirements.
Admission on Motion
You may be admitted on motion to the Colorado bar if you are licensed as a lawyer in another jurisdiction and meet these requirements:
Licensing and Admission to the Bar
You will be mailed your bar exam results about three months after the exam. If you passed, you need to attend the next mandatory admission ceremony, pay a $40 licensing fee (by check or credit card only, no cash accepted), and take and sign the oath of admission before the Clerk of the Supreme Court. Information on the upcoming ceremony will be sent with your passing exam scores.
You are now a licensed lawyer and official member of the Colorado bar! If you are under the age of 38 or have been admitted to your first bar for less than three years, you are also automatically a member of the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of the Colorado Bar Association. This group can help you in setting up your own solo practice, finding a job within an existing firm or company, or deciding which direction to take in your new career as a Colorado attorney.
Colorado has its share of well-known and nationally famous law firms, as evidenced by inclusion of 409 of them in the recent U.S. News & World Report list of “Best Law Firms.” While it is impossible to list all 409 law firms that made the cut, some names that stand out include Alderman Bernstein LLC in Denver, Ballard Spahr LLP in Boulder, Cozen O’Connor in Denver, Cooley LLP in Broomfield, and Dentons in Denver.
Would you like to give back to others as you start your burgeoning law career? Many nonprofit organizations and legal assistance agencies would love to have your help. These include Colorado Legal Services, The Center for Trauma & Resilience, San Luis Vally Bar Association Pro Bono Project, Disability Law Colorado, Colorado Lawyers Helping Lawyers, Colorado Center on Law & Policy, and Arvada Teen Court. If you would like more information on any of these organizations, contact the Colorado Bar Foundation at 303-824-5329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal specialty certification
There are numerous areas of legal specialization in which you can become certified through the National Board of Trial Advocacy. These include civil, criminal, and family trial law; social security disability law, truck accident law, and civil trial law advocacy. Additionally, Colorado houses an organization that provides board certification in child welfare law, the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC). For more information, contact the NACC.
Requirements for maintaining license
In order to maintain your legal license in Colorado, you must fulfill Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements. This amounts to completing 45 hours of credit every three years, including seven hours in ethics.
Court Systems in Colorado
The Colorado State Judicial Branch Court System consists of Trial Courts and Appellate Courts.
Elective membership organizations
Now that you have your Colorado law license, think about becoming a member of one of these elective professional membership associations:
Lawyer Career Specialties
|CO Active Lawyers||18,000|
|Average Annual Wage||$131,800|